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Tuesday, 14 November 1905

Senator DOBSON (Tasmania) - Senator Playford has, just uttered two sentences which ought to induce him to vote for the amendment. A few minutes ago he said that ff the officer found that there- was reason to suspect that in certain cases fraud was being practised it was very desirable that he should have the power to inspect and take samples.

Senator Playford - I did not say anything about suspecting fraud. I said that the shipment ought to be inspected, irrespective of the question of fraud.

Senator DOBSON - Just before the adjournment for dinner the Minister argued that if a Customs officer suspected that certain inferior or adulterated goods were being imported, he ought to have the power to take samples.

Senator Playford - That is another question.

Senator DOBSON - A few minutes ago the honorable senator s-aid that no Customs officer would inspect a case of apples unless he had reason to suspect that something was wrong. Therefore the amendment would carry out the thought which passed through his mind, that is, if his words correspond with his thoughts. The illustration he gave was not relevant. In Tasmania a shipment of 100 cases of prize rips.tone pippins is not branded as to grade. Whoever heard of growers bothering to brand their cases when the buyers at the other end of the world simply buy according to inspection ? Would my honorable friend take a case of apples simply because it was branded with the words "extra prime," when he could raise the lid and look' at them for himself? Would he not think that he knew more about the quality of the apples than all the inspectors rolled into one? From Hobart we may send away by one steamer 45,000 cases merely branded with the name of the apple, and not bearing the words "prime," or "extra prime," or "second class." If that addition has to be made it will do irreparable mischief to our apple trade. I should! have thought that the amendment would have found acceptance with the majority of honorable senators. I find that two clauses of the Foods Adulteration Bill of Victoria contain the words, " If the officer has reasonable cause to suspect." Senator Macfarlane wishes to provide that if inferior articles are being exported they may be inspected. Suppose that Senator Playford had been shipping apples for some years, and that his brand! was well known and appreciated in the old country. Would he like an inspector to treat him as if he were one of those fraudulent! exporters of whom we have heard1? If, however, he had sent away a bad shipment', and that act had been traced home tei him by means of his brand, the inspector would have a right to say to him, " You have been sending away inferior fruit. I suspect that you intend to do so again, and therefore I will have a dozen cases opened." Senator Macfarlane wishes to provide for a case of that kind. It is impossible to inspect apples in Tasmania when 50,000 cases are sent away by one ship in the course of forty-eight hours.

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