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Thursday, 4 July 1946
Page: 2241

Mr HARRISON - I have not mentioned any one yet. Let me develop my case. The next question was question No. 4-

Were any such licences issued to any member or members of the House of Representatives or the Senate? If so, to what member or members, and what was the value of the licence or licences?

To that question the answer was -

Mr S M Falstein - (

The sixth question in this series of eight was -

Is it a fact that the department has evidence of trafficking in" such licences; if so, what action has it taken to prevent trafficking in import licences?

The answer to that was -

There have been statements by quota-holders that there has been trafficking in the licences issued 'to ex-servicemen, but no instances of this alleged abuse of the licences have so far been detected by the department. Owing to the .precautions which would he taken by traffickers to coyer up their dealings, detection and proof of the offence would be very difficult. Insofar as watches arc concerned, the qualifications of applicants for quotas have been the subject of more intense scrutiny for some months.

I have read those portions of the questions and. answers particularly, because I think that the House should be made aware of the disconcerting statements that are being made, and of the answers given by the Minister. If I had omitted them, obviously I should have been doing an injustice to an honorable member. It is true that in the answers to my questions, a number of names - 23 in all - of others who have been granted import licences have been mentioned. My object in asking the questions was that the fullest possible information should be given to ' the House. The questions were placed on the notice-paper, they have been answered," and questions and answers are in the records of the House. It is well known that the Department of Trade and Customs has advised merchants that their quotas cannot be increased because of the exchange rate with Switzerland. It is well known, too, that legitimate merchants suffered a reduction of their quotas for watch* movements by at least 33J,- per cent. The Government's decision to grant import quotas to ex-servicemen may be commendable, but why should a member of the

House of Representatives--

Mr Falstein - What, was the quota held by merchants?

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