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Friday, 13 November 1936

Personal Explanation.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE. - byleave - Honorable senators will remember that, during the debate on the Constitution Alteration (Marketing) Bill yesterday, Senator Duncan-Hughes referred to the attitude of the Premier of Queensland, Mr. Forgan Smith, at the conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers held in Adelaide in August. I understood the honorable senator to say that the Premier of Queensland favoured the subject of marketing being dealt with by means of an excise duty and a bounty rather than by an alteration of the Constitution. Having read the Hansard proof of my speech I think that, an explanation from rae is necessary, otherwise I would perhaps be doing the honorable senator an injustice. The fact of the matter is that we were each dealing with a different stage of the proceedings of the conference. The honorable senator was referring to a later stage of the proceedings when I understood him to be referring to an earlier stage. Perhaps I should explain to the Senate what actually occurred. When the conference dealt with this subject the first proposal put forward was for an alteration of the Constitution ; no exact terms were stated, but the general purport of the proposal was to give, to the Com- monwealth the power which it thought it held prior to the decision of the Privy Council in the James case. In the discussion on that point Mr. Forgan Smith made his position and that of his governmnent perfectly clear in . the statement which I quoted to the Senate. When the vote on that proposal was taken, the Premiers of New South AVales, Victoria and Queensland voted in the affirmative with the Commonwealth, and the representatives of South Australia Western Australia, and Tasmania voted against it. At a later stage, Mr. Forgan Smith moved a motion that the Commonwealth should impose an excise duty and provide for the payment of a bounty, and that was the motion quoted by the honorable senator. On that occasion he made a statement similar to that quoted by Senator Duncan-Hughes. I think it only fair to point out that, before that stage was reached, Mr. Forgan Smith had indicated that he regarded the imposition of an excise duty and the payment of a bounty as only a temporary expedient.

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