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Tuesday, 23 May 1972
Page: 1909


Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) - No, not after this Bill has become law. I say that there is a defect in what is proposed. The Minister said: 'We will make the Bill law and the Minister will write and tell you that this clause does not mean what you have interpreted it to mean'. For God's sake, tell me if I am wrong on this question. The Minister does not do that. He has his advisers to assist him. The Minister pointed out in his previous reply that all of clause 6 relates to the purchaser. Clause 6 details how a purchaser can deduct the levy and how a purchaser becomes responsible to the Government. The Minister states that if a purchaser defaults the liability at all times is on the producer. But sub-clause (8.) of clause 6 provides that where it would be unreasonable to expect payment from a purchaser, who has the liability to pay, the purchaser is not proceeded against to obtain payment.

This does not discharge the liability of some other person because this sub-clause provides: . . but such a release doss noi affect the liability of any other person.

I asked who 'any other person' was. I was told thai the words 'any other person' mean the firm'. What firm? Is it the firm which received the money that has the liability to pay the Government? It is found that it would be unreasonable to prosecute that firm for the recovery of money from that purchaser. Some other mystery firm is introduced. Because firm A did not pay the levy, is the Government to seek the payment from purchaser B who did not purchase the producer's milk? Surely no other interpretation is available but that the responsibility again falls back on the producer.

I am trying to protect the producer from the liability to pay double the levy. If he has paid the levy, he should not be required to pay that same amount again. If the Minister can show me any value in the concluding words in sub-clause (8.), . . but such a release does not affect the liability of any other person*, well and good. But if I believe that there is hardship imposed by this legislation, I would be neglecting my duty if I were to let it pass through its remaining stages and await an explanation afterwards from the Minister. If a hardship exists, it should be explained and cleared up before we are asked to pass the legislation. I ask the Minister to consider the adjournment of the consideration of these clauses. I do not know whether the legislation is so important that it must be passed immediately. We have plenty Df legislation with which to proceed. I ask the Minister to adjourn its consideration until he obtains a thorough explanation and justification from the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) in respect of the words used in these sub-clauses.

Clauses agreed to.

Clause 8 - (Recovery of levy).







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