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Friday, 1 May 1936

Senator MILLEN (Tasmania) . - The Minister's explanation has not enlightened me. The Tariff Board says that this matter must be referred to it before Parliament deals with it, and it thus places itself above Parliament. Are we not stressing the calculation on exchange solely in the relation of British currency to Australian currency? On glucose, for instance, the amount is 2.4d. per cwt. under all three headings, and the Minister claims for this mathematical precision. Let us assume that we are dealing with German currency or the currency of any of the present gold bloc countries. What is the value to-day of Australian currency in Germany? I think the Australian pound is worth about 9s. in Berlin. In other words, it would require over £200 to buy £100 worth of goods in Germany, as against £125 to purchase £100 worth of wares in Britain. It is obvious that the Tariff Board did not give the subject very full consideration. The Minister persists in telling us that there is not going to be any variation. It may be that no variation is likely to take place in relation to British currency, but certainly there will be a continual movement in relation to foreign currencies. Yet we are told that the Tariff Board has worked out its calculation on a basis which is mathematically accurate. I submit that the Board could not have arrived at a completely accurate calculation in respect of any currency other than British currency. Therefore, it is ridiculous to claim that this matter has been gone into very carefully. Indeed, the Government is accepting the Tariff Board as a fetish; it adopts the attitude that the Tariff Board's word must be accepted as. final. I strongly support the amendment proposed by Senator Duncan - Hughes.

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