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Thursday, 19 November 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - I accept the Minister's assurance, but there is one other point upon which I should like his further assurance. The Minister guarantees that eight days will be allowed for the discussion of this bill. I desire to know whether that means eight days in the House of Representatives, or seven days in that Chamber and one day in the Senate, or an equitable division of the period between the two Houses. This is a matter upon which I, and others, have desired to speak ever since the proposals were introduced into the House of Representatives on the 22nd May last, and I do not want to find that, at the eleventh hour, honorable senators will be placed in an awkward position because of lack of time to discuss a matter of such importance.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES(South Australia). [11.21]. - This is a most surprising bill. In 1934 Parliament agreed that unless tariff schedules were passed within six months of their being broughtinto Parliament, they should cease to have effect. The legislation was not set out in those words, but, as honorable senators will remember, exSenator Colebatch moved an amendment, the effect of which was that any customs duties which had been collected could be sued for and recovered unless Parliament had passed the schedule within six months of its introduction into Parliament. The amendment was devised for the purpose of preventing a repetition of those interminable delays which had occured in dealing with previous tariff schedules, resulting in Parliament continuing for, I think, three or four years without having a chance to discuss what had been made law by ministerial edict. Since the bill passed into law four validating bills dealing with customs duties have been passed, in addition to the three bills now before the Senate making, in all, seven bills, validating duties which were not completed within the six months allowed by Parliament.

Senator Hardy - Are there not extraordinary circumstances governing this request ?

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