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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I suggest the omission of the words " as prescribed by departmental by-laws." Since the Committee was informed on a previous occasion of the inconvenience caused to the commercial community by these by-laws, considerable publicity has been given to the subject by the report of a case in which a Sydney firm claimed a refund of duty. The remarks of Chief Justice Sir William Cullen as to the " official mind " and the methods adopted by Customs officials were very caustic. He said -

I think it proper in. the public interest to draw attention to the peculiar attitude into which the official mind is very apt to fall, and in which that kind of disposition finds expression in what are very often spoken of as " Departmental Bills " presented to Parliament.

And when one counsel intimated that his clients had been called to account for their failure to dot an " i " in the word " paid, " the Judge said that he certainly recognised that that would be the official attitude. After sitting for thirteen hours. I do not want to worry the Committee with a detailed account of the case, but I hope the Minister (Senator Pearce) will call the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) to these judicial comments.

Item agreed to.

Item 417 -

(a)   Machinery specially designed and! adapted for use in any University or public educational institution for the purposes of instruction to students only, ad val., British and intermediate, free; general, 20 per cent.

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