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Friday, 15 May 1936

Senator BROWN - Effective protection being the avowed policy of Australia, will the Government give to Parliament an opportunity to discuss the terms of any renewal of the Ottawa agreement, in order to ensure that the fiscal rights of Parliament will not be bartered away or in any sense restricted?

Senator- Sir GEORGEPEARCE.The Ottawa agreement was itself placed before Parliament in the form of the schedule to a bill which became an act with the approval of both branches of the legislature. Any amendment of that schedule would, of course, have 'to come before Parliament and bo assented to in the same manner.

Senator BROWN - Is it not a fact that, when the agreement was placed before Parliament, the Government stated emphatically and unequivocally that if any part of it were altered the whole of it would be jettisoned? Will the Government give the assurance that before action is taken for its renewal, an opportunity will be provided for an untrammelled debate, particularly- in regard to article 12, which gives to the Tariff Board greater power than Parliament itself exercises ?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - There was nothing unusual in the procedure adopted in connexion with the

Ottawa agreement. Any agreement in relation to trade or other matters, which is- entered into by two governments, and has to be ratified by Parliament, must be accepted as a whole. It is obvious that, if any part of it were amended, there would have to be fresh negotiations between the two parties to it. Therefore, if any articles of the Ottawa agreement are amended, the whole of the articles will be open for discussion when the amending legislation is introduced.

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