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Thursday, 19 November 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is merely to validate, until the 7th December, 1936) collections of duty under the Customs Tariff proposals which were introduced into the House of Representatives on the 22 nd May last. In accordance with section 226 of the Customs Act it is necessary, for the protection of the revenue, that those tariff proposals be passed into law by the 21st November, 1936; otherwise they will lapse. The proposals seek, among other things, to amend the duties on certain textiles. As honorable senators are aware, negotiations with Japan have reached the stage at which there is a reasonable prospect of settlement. In these negotiations the duties on textiles are necessarily under consideration. The Government considers it inadvisable to ask Parliament to ratify the rates of duty shown in the tariff proposals introduced in May last if there is an immediate prospect of a satisfactory conclusion of the negotiations with Japan.

Honorable senators will observe that validation is requested only until the 7th December next. A promise has already been given to the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives that Parliament will be given an opportunity to debate the items contained in the tariff proposals for a period of eight sitting days should the two Houses require that length of time to discuss them. I appeal to honorable senators not to endeavour at this stage to discuss the items incorporated in the schedule or the particular problems which made necessary the action taken by the Government. On behalf of the Government, I give an undertaking similar to that given to the Leader of the Opposition in the other Chamber. The intention of the Government is that the tariff schedules shall be discussed before

Parliament adjourns for the Christmas vacation.

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