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Tuesday, 14 November 1905

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) - I fail to see that Senator Symon has given an additional reason why the Committee should adopt his amendment, the acceptance of which would place us in a quandary. We should at once have placed on us the obligation to make a schedule.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Not if clause 15 is exhaustive.

Senator PEARCE - I think that clause 15 is not exhaustive.

Senator Playford - It certainly is not exhaustive.

Senator PEARCE - The clause is inclusive. If we adopt the amendment of Senator Symon, the obligation will be cast on the Committee to enumerate the particular classes of goos.

Senator Gray - Does the honorable senator mean that the whole commerce of Australia is included within the operation of the Bill ?

Senator PEARCE - The whole commerce of Australia, so far as it is within the con- trol of the Commonwealth, comeswithin the operation of the measure.

Senator Gray - That is a different matter.

SenatorMulcahy. - Does Senator Pearce hold that, under clause 5, all goods either coming in or going out of Australia can be compulsorily inspected ?

Senator PEARCE - I believe so.

Senator Mulcahy - With what object?

Senator PEARCE - With the object of obtaining information.

Senator Guthrie - It may be with the object of protecting life.

Senator PEARCE - The object may be to enable the people of Australia to know what they are consuming, or to enable consumers of Australian produce to know what they are buying.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - If that is the only object, it can be attained under the Customs Act.

Senator PEARCE - As the Minister of Defence pointed out, while there are certain powers under the Customs Act, there is no power to take samples of goods inspected.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Why should samples be wanted?

Senator PEARCE - For analysis.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - But nothing can be done under clauses 7 and 11 in regard to goods not enumerated in clause 15.

Senator PEARCE - It is possible that no penalty could be inflicted, but the power to inspect exports and imports is very valuable.

Senator Mulcahy - But surely there would not be inspection for mere curiosity !

Senator PEARCE - There would be inspection for the purpose of obtaining information. During my speech on the second reading, I gave an instance in which no money penalty could be inflicted, but in which the punishment was quite as severe. That was the case of the manufacturer who loaded his leather with the product known as barium.

Senator Macfarlane - Buyers will not purchase such leather.

Senator PEARCE - I am afraid the honorable senator does not know what he is talking about. In the case which I cited it was only one of all the manufacturers in Victoria who so loaded his leather, and the Government of Victoria had no power to inflict a penalty. I happen to know, however, that this manufacturer used every effort to prevent the publication of his name in connexion with the statement of the facts, because such publication might at one stroke have destroyed his business, and thus proved a much more drastic punishment than any fine. The clause as it stands 1s, in my opinion, sufficient. Neither Senator Symon nor any other honorable senator has given any information as to what the proposed schedule should contain, and, therefore, in this connexion the Committee are in the dark.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - It is for the Government to say what they propose.

Senator PEARCE - The Government are not making the alteration. They are satisfied with the Bill as it stands.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - It is for the Government to specify the schedule.

Senator PEARCE - The Minister pointed out that the Government must have power to adapt the Bill to the changing conditions of trade without the necessity of carrying amending legislation. When one avenue for roguery is stopped upwe know that the rogue will look round for other avenues. Are we to pass fresh legislation upon this subject every time a new avenue for roguery is discovered? We know that it is very difficult for legislation to keep pace with roguery as it is.

Senator Trenwith - It never can; it does not within " cooee " of it.

Senator PEARCE - Then it is surely a mistake to handicap this legislation by making it necessary to carry an amending measure every time a new avenue for roguery in connexion with the subject with whichit deals is discovered.

Senator Gray - What was the use of inserting clause 15 if it is intended thatthe Bill should apply to all exports and imports ?

Senator PEARCE - Senator Graymust be aware that clause 15 owes its, present shape to the efforts of his friends in another place to limit the application of the Bill as much as possible. I shall vote against the amendment for the reasons I have stated.

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