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Thursday, 5 December 1935


The CHAIRMAN (Senator Sampson (TASMANIA) - The proposed new clause which Senator Johnston had circulated, reads : - " 7a. Notwithstanding any provision in any other act or State act which vests in any creditor of a wheat-grower or in any authority constituted under any such act the right to receive or require payment of any amount payable under this act to a wheat-grower, that provision shall have no effect in respect of so much of the amount so payable as does not exceed fifty pounds in any year.'"

The amendment, to be in order, must be consistent with the context of the bill. I see in the bill no reference to any payment to a wheat-grower. In my opinion, the amendment proposed by the honorable senator is irrelevant to the bill, and I therefore rule it out of order.


Senator E B Johnston - Then I move -

That the Chairman's ruling be dissented from.

I do so on the ground that as the purpose of the bill is to assist wheat-growers, the best way to assist them is by protecting them against their creditors.

In the Senate:


Senator Sampson - I have to report, Mr. President, that Senator E. B. Johnston has dissented from my ruling. He proposed a new clause, 7a, and I ruled his amendment out of order on the ground that it was irrelevant to the bill, that no payment was mentioned in the bill, and that an amendment must be consistent with the context of the bill. The honorable senator has dissented from my ruling on the ground that the object of the bill is to assist wheat-growers, and that they can best be assisted by protecting them against their creditors.


Senator E B Johnston - The new clause which I wished to move reads as follows : -

Notwithstanding any provision in any other act or State act which vests in any creditor of a wheat-grower or in any authority constituted under any such act the right to receive or require payment of any amount payable under this act to a wheat-grower, that provision shall have no effect in respect of so much of the amount so payable as does not exceed fifty pounds in any year.

I regret that the Leader of the Senate objected to my amendment and that it was ruled to be out of order before I had an opportunity to read it or move it. I submit that the Senate is dealing with a measure to assist wheatgrowers by giving them certain moneys to be derived by the payment of an increased price for wheat used for home consumption. The growers are in a distressed condition, and have a large number of creditors. I submit that the proposed new clause is entirely relevant to the bill, and I desire to ensure that the grower shall get the first £50 of the amount payable under the bill for his own use, and that no person who has a lien over his property or to whom he owes money shall have the right to take that money from him. It is clear that the bill will not help the farmers unless this most necessary provision is included.


Senator Sir George Pearce - Is the honorable senator, under cover of explaining his dissent, entitled to argue the merits of the new clause, which he desires to submit?


Senator E B Johnston - I claim that the amendment is relevant. We are dealing with the machinery to be provided for the collection of certain money to be given to the wheat-farmers, and surely we are entitled to direct how a portion of that money shall be distributed. A similar provision has been included in the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act. No creditor may garnishee a pension, and the wheatfarmer is entitled to similar protection for at least £50 of his annual revenue. The old-age pension amounts to about £50 a year, and no creditor may deprive the pensioner of it under any judgment. I have received requests for this amendment from organizations concerned with the wheat-farmers who are to be assisted.


Senator Sir George Pearce - What has that to do with the question as to whether the amendment is in order?


Senator E B Johnston - I submit that the protection sought to be given by it is relevant to the bill. If it were not for this bill the necessity for the amendment would not arise.


Senator Sir George Pearce - I draw particular attention to the wording of the proposed new clause. It states -

Notwithstanding any provision in any other act or State act

It proposes to override even State acts - which vests in any creditor of a wheatgrower or in any authority constituted under any such act the right to receive or require payment of any amount payable under this act.

The bill makes no reference to creditors or amounts payable under the act to creditors or debtors. The proposed new clause does not purport to amend the bill in any particular, but it purports to amend an act not specified, or a State act not specified. I submit that it is not only out of order, but also unconstitutional, because we cannot amend State acts.


Senator Collings - I point out to Senator Johnston that an exactly similar position arose with regard to an amendment which I moved. The President was courteous enough to show me the authorities and the Standing Orders bearing on the point, and I was perfectly satisfied that my amendment was not in order, because it was not relevant to the bill. I am satisfied now that Senator Johnston's amendment is no more in order than mine was. He was in order, I think, when he moved a similar amendment on another bill last year, and the Opposition then supported him. We should support him again now if his present amendment were not obviously out of order.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon.

P.   J. lynch). - The intention of Senator Johnston, apparently, is to ensure payment to a wheat-grower for his own uses of a sum of at least £50 despite any State or Federal law. The honorable senator seeks to insert a clause, 7a. The marginal note to clause 7 is " Sales by processors ", and this clause reads -

A wheat processor shall, within ten days after the close of any month during which he has sold, in the course of interstate trade and commerce, any wheat products manufactured by him, furnish to the prescribed authority in the State in which the wheat products were manufactured, homeconsumption warrants, issued under a State act, representing the quantity of wheat used in the manufacture of those products.

Penalty: Five hundred pounds.

The clause makes no mention of payments to wheat-growers. We are dealing with a bill for an act " relating to trade and commerce with other countries, and, among the States, in wheat and wheat products ". That title makes no reference to money that the farmer shall or shall not receive. The proposed new clause, to my mind, introduces an element entirely foreign to the bill. Standing Order 201 reads -

Any amendment may be made to any part of the bill, provided the same be relevant to the subject-matter of the bill, and be otherwise in conformity with the rules and orders of the Senate.

As the subject-matter of the bill is trade and commerce with other countries and among the States, in wheat and wheat products, I hold that the amendment is not relevant to the bill, and I therefore uphold the Chairman's ruling.

In committee:

Clauses 8 to 11 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

Bill read a third time.







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