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Tuesday, 21 August 1906

Senator STORY (South 1 Australia) . - I have no desire to prolong a debate which, it appears to me, has already been protracted to a wearisome .length. Many long speeches have- been made both for and against the measure. While there mav be some reasons for them on the part of honorable senators who think that, this is a bad' measure, there is no reason why those who, like myself, wish t'o see it taken into Committee, should delay the proceedings. Possibly, if honorable senators who have indicated their intention of voting for the second reading had done so without giving such lengthy reasons, the Bill would have been law by this time, and the Senate would have been enabled to proceed with other possibly more important business. I do not wish it to be imagined that I am attempting in any way to lecture those who have made long speeches. Possibly, they may have acted from a strong sense of duty. But it occurs to me that a great deal of time is wasted in debating the second reading of a measure, nearly the whole of which has to be gone over again in Committee. A number of combines have been referred to as existing in Australia, and it has been said that this Bill will affect them. One combine has not been mentioned which, in my opinion, is doing as much harm to the people of Australia as any that has been denounced. I refer to the combine which regulates the publishing of the news of the world in our newspapers. It has been referred to in connexion with another Bill. I am glad to notice that Senator Pearce has on the notice-paper an amendment which he will propose in Committee to deal with that combine. When it comes forward, I shall be prepared with evidence which, I- hope, will convince the Senate that it is a combine which should, if possible, be brought under the Bill. I intend to vote for the second reading, though I do not think that the expectations cf the warmest supporters of the measure will be realised. I believe that combines cannot be regulated by a Bill of this description. But until the majority of the electors of Australia can be shown that it is impossible to regulate combines, and prevent the evils that arise from them by such legislation as this, they will not be in a frame 'of mind to agree to the only certain remedy for monopoly, and that is the nationalization of all huge concerns such as the' combines which have been mentioned, and the working of them in the interests of the whole of the people of Australia.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator will support the Bill in the belief that it will be a failure.

Senator STORY - I believe that it will be to a great extent a failure, though at the same time the dumping clauses will, in my view, give some immediate relief to many of our manufacturers.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee:

Clause 1 -

This Act may be cited as the Australian Industries Preservation Act 1906.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [9.16]. - Now that Ave have got into Committee on the Bill, I shall do all that I can to assist in removing what I think are ambiguities and difficulties from it. The more I examine the Bill, the more I adhere to the opinion which I expressed in the second-reading debate - that it is not deserving of encomiums either for its drafting, its grammar, or the scheme embodied in it. When we reach the clauses which appear to me to be susceptible of improvement, I shall indicate many respects in which they require attention, in order to give them even the appearance of being workable. It is about the most muddled measure I have seen for some time. First of all, I ask honorable senators to consider the title. It is desirable that we should have a title that signifies what the Bill is. The present title is,, most of us will admit, an absolute sham. The Bill is not intended to preserve Australian industries.

Surely the Government does not wish to give to the Bill a title which, is a mere electioneering placard. The title " AntiTrust Bill " would sufficiently define it.

Senator Best - That would not cover the dumping clauses.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Did the honorable senator ever see the word "dumping" in a piece of legislation before? I have no objection to the word, if honorable senators like it ; but it is not to be found in any legislative measure in the world.

Senator Story - Is it American or Australian ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I really do not know. It is a kind of slang term. I move -

That the words " Australian Industries Preservation " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word "Anti-Trust."

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