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Thursday, 23 August 1906

Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales) . - The clause before us is one of very grave importance. It would be a very good thing for the people of Australia to take note, as I am sure they will, of the views which are held by a number of honorable senators. In some of the States the people will, I think, be much surprised to find their representatives here prepared to " give them away " as States. I have here a statement by Mr. Nash, the financial editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, and one of the bestinformed commercial men in Australia. It is as follows : -

It will be seen that the " person " can only lie reached if the combination or monopoly extends beyond a State, but the corporations are ito be reached at any point. The reason for this is .apparently that the Commonwealth has powers

The fact is that the Commonwealth has no power whatever to disturb the internal trade of any State. It can stop imports and exports on the coast, and oan legislate for Inter-State transfers, and there its power ceases. But take any important industry now in the hands of "corporations," the Commonwealth dare not stop it, as it would throw vast numbers out of work, and injure producers and consumers. We are inclined to regard these provisions as little more than a farce. The Bill claims the power to paralyze monopolies and combinations, but we altogether doubt those claims ever being inforced.

That is a very strong expression of opinion about the clause, and I believe that it is thoroughly accurate. It certainly expresses the view which is held in New South Wales with regard to proposals such as are now made by the Government. If the debate has done no other good it has elicited from various senators the assertion that they are prepared to go beyond the limits of the Constitution, and to take powers which it has not bestowed upon them.

Senator Playford - It is not fair to say that. Thev are not prepared to do that.

Senator PULSFORD - The honorable senator now wants to repudiate that intention^ but I think it has been made abundantly clear that the rights of the States are in great jeopardy, and, strange to say, they are in almost more danger from the Senate which specially represents the States than from' the House of Representatives. I strongly urge honorable senators to think out the position before they go to meet the electors.

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