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Thursday, 11 August 1921

Senator SENIOR (South Australia) . - I move-

That the House of Representatives bo requested to amend sub-item (a), paragraph 2, by leaving out the words " by departmental bylaws."

This simply leaves the words "as prescribed." The words " as prescribed by departmental by-laws " occur so frequently in the Tariff that it seems to me necessary for Parliament to retain the power of imposing duties, or, at least, be in a position to know what duties are imposed, removed, or modified. If we leave the words in as they appear, too much power is given to the Customs Department without any supervision from Parliament, which should be the real author of all duties. In the case of the Defence Department regulations are from time to time laid upon the table, and we have an opportunity to approve or disapprove of them; but in the case of the Tariff we are asked to place all the power in the hands of the Comptroller of Customs. The words " as prescribed by departmental by-laws" occur four or five times on this one page of the Tariff.

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - I understand that there are already 14,000 Customs rulings.

Senator SENIOR - That simply shows the farce - if I may use the word - of Parliament imposing duties, if it is possible to have 14,000 rulings by which those duties may be removed or modified, according to the will of the Customs officials. It may be said that Parliament has not time to attend to such matters, but we are paid to do so, and ought to do our duty.

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