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Friday, 25 June 1937

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for External Affairs) . - by leave - I have here a copy of the Canberra Times, of to-day's date, containing what is alleged to be a report of the debate on the Inter-State Commission Bill in the Senate yesterday. Dealing with Senator E. B. Johnston's criticism that no provision had been made in the bill by which Commonwealth railway freights could be inquired into, I am reported as having said -

If the Common wealth railway was brought under the same provisions as provided for interstate railways, and the commission found that the Commonwealth railway was giving unfair preference or discrimination, they would have the anomaly, if Senator Johnston's amendment was carried, of the AttorneyGeneral having to prosecute himself before the High Court to carry out the hoard's finding. For that reason, the Commonwealth railway had been excluded from the provisions.

That is entirely contrary to what I did say, although the preliminary part of the report is correct. According to an uncorrected Hansard proof of my speech I said -

For that reason Part IV. of this measure cannot he applied to the Commonwealth railways. I assured Senator Johnston, however, when he was speaking, that the Commonwealth railways do come within the province of this bill, and I now give Senator Allan MacDonald and Senator Marwick the same assurance.

I pointed out that they came under clause 18, from which I then quoted.

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