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Friday, 3 October 1902

Mr CONROY (Werriwa) - I I quite agree with what has fallen from the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, and I must add that the blame with regard to the introduction of this Bill at this stage must rest upon the shoulders of the Government. We, on this side of the chamber, complain very strongly about their action. I have gone over the suggested amendments carefully with the honorable and learned member, and fully concur in the suggestions made by him. Therefore, I had intended to support him. But, as the leader of the Opposition thinks that it is rather too late to discuss the matter now, I shall fall in with his opinion. As pointed out by the right honorable member, if the Government itself refused to avail itself of the power suggested by the honorable and learned member for South Australia, we should be absolutely hopeless, and it is clear that we cannot enforce this provision against the opinion of the Government. As we find the Attorney-General taking a technical objection to the suggested amendment, it is' evident that the Government would not take advantage of it. The position in Australia at present is that there is no remedy for any citizen against the Commonwealth Government. In order to prevent that, this Bill must be passed. But the measure is not as wide in its scope as it ought to be. How, for instance, could any one sue the Minister for Trade and

Customs under this measure for a wrong done ?

Mr L E GROOM (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) - The Bill gives a remedy for wrong done.

Mr CONROY - I am surprised to hear that. How can any one get an injunction against the Minister ?

Mr L E GROOM (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) - One could take actions in tort.

Mr CONROY - The Minister can detain goods at his own sweet will to-morrow, and no one has any remedy against him ; and we know the nice idea of justice the Minister for Trade and Customs has shown in some cases already. The Government do not propose to remedy that state of affairs, although half-a-dozen alterations in this Bill would secure what was necessary and give the people of this country a remedy for wrongs done to them. The remedies are not given under this measure. As the leader of the Opposition has said, I think it is hopeless for us to attempt to pass this proposal when the Ministry are opposed to it. I therefore shall not press it, but leave the Government to fight out their worthless measure for themselves.

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