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Wednesday, 15 November 1905

Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I opposed this amendment yesterday when the matter was fully discussed. The argument has been that the House of Representatives really intended that clause 5 should apply only to the articles mentioned in clause 15, and that, as there are no penalties provided in connexion with clause 5, it gives the Minister power only to take samples, so far as the articles prescribed under it are concerned, and is, therefore, of little or no use. I have been informed that the majority of honorable members in another place were under no such impression ; they were under the impression that although no penalties are attached to clause 5, power would be given to the Minister to examine and inspect prescribed goods, and that that power, with the possibility that the result, of the examination might be made public would be beneficial. In the circumstances, I think it better that this clause should be left as it stands. I see the point made by Senator Best, and it appeals to me to a certain extent. But I also see the force of the contention of the other side, and I believe there are classes of goods not included in clause 15 which it is desirable should be examined. None of these goods can be prescribed by regulation, unless the regulations are laid before Parliament, and given every publicity, and I feel quite certain that the Department will never suggest regulations unless there is reason to believe that certain goods ought not to be exported. Under the circumstances, I ask honorable senators to support the clause.

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