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Tuesday, 26 May 1903

Sir EDMUND BARTON - I was represented in the press as having stated at the meeting which I addressed in the Sydney Tosvn Hall that I had decided that the goods taken from the man referred to should be returned, and that 80 per cent, of the fine should be remitted. That, however, was a slight inaccuracy on the part of the press. What I did say was that I intended to take measures to insure that result, and what has happened since has been this : I had not the Customs papers before me, and had not put any direction upon them, and, in the absence of such direction, the fine has not been remitted. I shall, however, make representations upon the subject to my colleague, the Minister for Trade and Customs. I think that the Comptroller of Customs, when he intimated that the fine could not he remitted, rather overlooked the powers possessed by the Minister for Trade and Customs. I am informed that whilst my colleague, the Attorney-General, was for a time administering the Customs department, he gave directions in accordance with the promise I made, and I have no doubt that the fine will be remitted.

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