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Tuesday, 28 August 1906

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) . - I feel very much concerned about Senator Pulsford being a member of a trust of any kind; but Senator Pulsford will have to take the consequences of this legislation, because I believe it will be passed. If a trade union were organized for the purpose of injuring an Australian industry, or doing any injustice to Australian workmen, producers, or consumers, I should be prepared to let that union also take the consequences of such legislation. To carry on the argument advanced by Senator Trenwith, I may say that a commercial trust is very often described as an octopus. I do not believe in using terms of that description as applied to commercial trusts, or any other institution.

Senator Findley - A number of trusts are " fishy," so the term is applicable.

Senator McGREGOR - There is a "fishiness" about trusts that might justify such a term. The Rockefeller trust is an octopus, and if we catch hold of one of its tentacles the responsibility is at once removed to another, and another, and yet another, until it is impossible to say where is the centre. In other words, if we get hold of a trust of this kind by one leg, as the saying is, it hops away on the other.

Senator Findley - The public do not know where to lay their hands on a commercial trust, but a commercial trust always knows how "to get at the public."

Senator McGREGOR - That is so ; and that is a very strong reason why trusts should be treated differently from individuals. We can always take an individual by the scruff of the neck and give him a shake up by law, or some other means ; but such a step is impossible in the case of a commercial trust. The only way is to say to a commercial trust-" Until you prove yourself innocent, we shall assume that you are guilty." Then the trust will come out of its shell, and, if it can, prove itself innocent. There would be no difficulty in an innocent trust proving its innocence, and, if it were guilty, it would not come out of its shell at all; and, therefore, it should be treated as guilty. Otherwise, a trust would be able to carry on its operations, and the law would be ineffective. According to the Bill as presented, a trust, wherever it might be, of whomsoever it might be composed, will be treated as guilty until it proves that there is no in tention to injure the public trust of Australia. It can be called upon to come out of cover, and prove that its business is legitimate; and, for the reasons already advanced, a commercial trust ought to be treated differently from an ordinary individual.

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