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Friday, 10 November 1905

Senator Lt Col GOULD (New South Wales) - The whole trend and object of the Bill is to deal with trade descriptions, and it does not appear to me that either the present title, or the title suggested, would make any difference as to the effect of the measure. It is set forth that a false description of goods may be punishable by a penalty of £,100; and yet the Bill itself bears on the face of it a false description.

Senator Playford - I cannot see that the title is false. The Bill relates to commerce with' other countries.

Senator Millen - So does the Customs Act.

Senator Lt Col GOULD .- Are there any provisions in the Bill except those dealing with descriptions of goods? Not a word is said as to how commerce must be conducted between the Commonwealth and other countries ; there are no provisions, for instance, that certain- vessels shall be licensed for commerce, or that they shall not be undermanned.

Senator Pearce - These are matters for a Navigation Bill.

Senator Lt Col GOULD .- That is so; but, at the same time, they relate to commerce. The Bill does not relate to all commerce, but merely to that infinitesimal part of commerce which has to do with trade descriptions.

Senator Playford - In the title the words are used " relating to commerce." People will refer to the Bill to see in what particulars it does relate to commerce.

Senator Lt Col GOULD .- According to Ministers, this Bill is an adaptation of, and an improvement on, the English Act; and although we were led to believe that the alterations were only verbal, I regard them as the real crux of the Bill and the possible cause of danger. A person is to be liable if he does not give an accurate description, and we ought to adopt that principle in regard to the title of the Bill.

Senator MILLEN(New South Wales). - Surely it is not intended that this question shall be decided with such slight consideration.

Senator Lt Col Gould - " Dumbdriven cattle."

Senator Guthrie - We know the reason for this opposition.

Senator MILLEN - I might with equal candour say that I know the reason why no arguments addressed from this side will be entertained.

Senator Pearce - Try us with an argument !

Senator MILLEN - The Committee apparently have such a lot of time to waste, that certain honorable senators do not seem disposed to afford me the opportunity. Senator Playford said just now, in an interjection, that shipping and similar matters are related to commerce. On that argument he might as well call the Customs Act a "commerce" Bill.

Senator Lt Col Gould - Or the Navigation Bill.

Senator MILLEN - Navigation, Customs, and all similar matters are, more or less, related to commerce. The Bill deals only with one branch of commerce, and surely we should not apply to it a title which covers the whole subject. The Minister having admitted the defect in the title of the Bill, might agree to accept some of the suggestions made from this side. The honorable senator has deplored the title which has been adopted for the Bill.

Senator Playford - I did not deplore it.

Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator has repeatedly said that it is a defective title, but that it is the best that Sir William Lyne and Dr. Wollaston could arrive at. Is .the Senate to be merely the recording angel of the decisions of those two gentlemen? I have heard nothing in support of the retention of the title adopted, whilst I have heard a great deal in support of its rejection. The title suggested by Senator Drake briefly, accurately, and aptly describes the purpose of the Bill, and I have not heard a single objection to it. Senator Playford, in insisting on the retention of a title which he admits to be defective, has prolonged a discussion which should have terminated long ago.

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