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Thursday, 22 October 1931

Mr PATERSON (Gippsland)

I support the amendment of the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory), and in a few words shall give my reason for doing so. In my opinion, the present practice is both unreasonable and illogical, whereas the amendment of the honorable member for Swan is both reasonable and logical. The Minister may not impose duties, with the object of making it more difficult for goods to enter this country, without ultimately obtaining the consent of Parliament to his action; but, by proclamation, he can prevent such goods coming here at all. That is to say, he can do the greater thing, although he cannot do the smaller thing. He cannot put on a duty without the consent of Parliament; but by means of a proclamation he can impose a total prohibition, and his action is not subject to parliamentary review. The amendment would still permit the Government to place embargoes on imports, but Parliament would have to ratify or disapprove of what was done. I ask the committee to agree to the amendment.

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