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Tuesday, 14 November 1905

Senator Lt Col GOULD (New South Wales) - It is very undesirable that this Bill should be pushed on at this hour of the night. Ministers have taken up the attitude that little or no reply shall be made to any objections raised against the Bill from this side. Senator Playford has said that he is prepared to believe that members of the present Ministry and of any Ministry who may succeed them will do all that is sensible and reasonable. I tell the honorable senator plainly that I have not that confidence in the Ministry. I believe they are as capable of making mistakes as other Ministries have been in the Commonwealth or elsewhere. So far as future Ministeries are concerned, I have no doubt the same thing may be said of them from whichever side in politics they come. It should not be forgotten that we are merely amateurs in dealing with this matter. Ministers are certainly amateurs on the subject of this Bill, because there is not one member of the present Government who is a commercial man. I ask whether any one of them has had such a commercial training as would entitle him to deal with a measure like this?

Senator Pearce - The Minister of Defence has had as good a commercial training as have some of the persons who have written leading articles that have been quoted by the honorable senator.

Senator Lt Col GOULD .- What commercial training has the Minister for Defence had? I am aware that he has been a Minister of the Crown for many Years, and that he has been Minister for Trade and Customs in South' Australia.

Senator Guthrie - He is a director of public companies.

Senator Lt Col GOULD - That does not make the honorable senator an expert in dealing with matters of this kind.

Senator Playford - I have been the liquidator of a burst up bank, and I learnt a good many wrinkles then as to the way in which commercial men deal with banks.

Senator Lt Col GOULD .- The Minister has had no connexion with commercial pursuits which entitles him to speak as an expert on the subject dealt with in this Bill. I am aware that honorable senators opposite have made up their minds, and are prepared to adopt a certain course of action. They have taken good care to provide no pairs for honorable senators on this side.

Senator Playford - Honorable senators opposite would then have counted out the Senate.

Senator Lt Col GOULD .- That is an admission that what I say is correct. I protestagainst going on any further with this Bill to-night.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia). - I shall vote against the first sub-clause, but first of all I intend to move an amendment. I move -

That the following words be added to subclause1 - " Provided that the place of origin of the goods shall not be a trade description within this section."

The object of the amendment is to bring the clause into conformity with the law as it stands at present in England.

Senator Playford - No; the law in England has not been altered, I think.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The ground upon which an alteration was recommended in England was that to have the place of origin as a trade description wouldseriously restrict trade, and injure the business of warehousemen and small masters.

Senator MACFARLANE(Tasmania).I take it that "place of origin " means place of manufacture. How is the importer in Australia! to know the place of origin of the goods which he buys through his agent in London ? If we do not take out those words we shall be penalizing the importer for something he cannot help. It will be very unjust, and will do the country no good. It is not a question of duty, because it does not affect the Customs Department in any way. I shall support the amendment.

Question - That the words proposed to be added to sub-clause1 be added - put.

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