Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Friday, 22 May 1936

Senator E B JOHNSTON (Western Australia) . - The position in respect of this matter is exactly as it was a week ago. The Government has not produced any fresh evidence to justify a reversal of the Senate's decision last week to accept the recommendation of the Tariff Board regarding this item, when the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) and the Minister in charge of the bill (Senator A. JMcLachlan) told us in unequivocal terms that the immediate acceptance of the board's recommendation was essential to the carrying out of the Ottawa agreement. I congratulate the Minister in charge of the bill upon the fact that he told us just as plainly to.-day, as he did last week, that in his opinion - and it is a high legal opinion - the position has not been altered. He reiterated that if this Parliament does not accept the board's recommendation immediately it will commit a breach of the Ottawa agreement. Is this committee to have a mind and policy of its own; is it to-day. to stick to a decision which it made only last week ? If it was imperative then to accept the recommendation of the board without delay, there can be no justification now for saying that we will accept it, but will defer its operation for six months. I recall that in the previous debate Senator Foll made a suggestion along these very lines, although he proposed a delay of twelve months, but immediately he made that suggestion, the Minister in charge of the bill rose and said that the Government must regard such a proposal as being just as much a violation of the Ottawa agreement as would be the rejection of the recommendation of the board. I agree with the Minister that if such action constituted a breach of the agreement last week, it constitutes a breach now, and I do not intend to be a party to it. Therefore, I shall not alter the vote which I gave on this subject last week, when the Senate decided, by nineteen votes to ten, to adopt the recommendation of the Tari,il Board. I resent the fact that Ministers outside this chamber have given interviews to the press indicating what the Senate would do in this matter. I read in the press a statement attributed to the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) that the decision of the House of Representatives would be reversed by the Senate, and that proved to be the case. I object to any Minister outside this chamber endeavouring to dictate the policy of the Senate, and to any attempt on the part of any Ministers to treat the Senate as a rubber stamp, taking it for granted that one week the Senate will approve of the recommendation of the Tariff Board, and the next week, when the Ministry has changed its mind, will oppose the recommendation of the board.

X accept the opinion expressed last week by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) and the PostmasterGeneral (Senator A. J. McLachlan), namely, that for the proper carrying out of the Ottawa agreement the recommendation of the Tariff Board should be accepted without delay.

Suggest corrections