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Friday, 25 June 1937

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - When I was interrupted in my remarks a few minutes ago I was stressing the importance of making specific provision in a measure of this nature for investigation into a particular matter, and I suggested that this fact was clearly demonstrated in the scene enacted in 2'he Merchant of Venice, which I endeavoured to describe. In this instance, also, we shall do well to express what we mean and intend " in the bond ".. I should like to have the assurance of the Minister that it is the intention of this_ Government that the claims of a State on the ground of disability, due to the operation of the tariff, shall come within the investigatory powers of- the commission. Furthermore, I point out that no provision is made in this measure to enable the commission to deal with disabilities which might arise in respect of transport either by water or by air. I remind the committee that in 1912, when the principal act was passed, the present development of aerial transport was not foreseen. Then, again, if we are to believe the words of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings), other difficulties may arise if the policy of his party is put into full operation in this country.

The CHAIRMAN - I ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the clause before the committee.

Senator LYNCH - If the Labour party is returned to power and gives effect to its policy in its entirety, as it will have every right to do, it is possible that we shall have a fleet of ships carrying goods in Australian waters at rates comparable with those now charged by the Government of New South Wales for the carriage of goods by rail to Broken Hill to the detriment of South Australia. Senator James McLachlan has clearly shown how South Australia is being seriously prejudiced by the " cut " rates on New South Wales railways. We should make provision for such a contingency.

Senator Sir George Pearce - The definition of " commerce " is allembracing; it covers commerce of all descriptions carried by sea, on the land, or in the air.

Senator LYNCH - I am glad to have the assurance of the Leader of the Senate, but I should feel easier in my mind if the bill expressly stated that all forms of transport were fully covered, so that there would he no doubt whatever that any disabilities which might be suffered by the smaller States would be the subject of investigation by the commission.

Senator Brennan - The definition clause is sufficiently wide to meet the position.

Senator LYNCH - It is as wide as the definition furnished to a London lecturer, on one occasion, when asked for an expansive term to describe a lecture which he was to deliver. One of his hearers suggested that he should style it " The universe and collateral subjects". Perhaps the definition clause may he so described ; but I should be better pleased if I had an assurance from the Leader of the Senate that the commission would investigate any disabilities which a State might suffer from any form of transport. Senator Sir George Pearce. - In the definition clause " commerce " includes "trade and traffic of all descriptions by land, water or air ". That is sufficient.

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