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Wednesday, 29 August 1906

Senator MULCAHY (Tasmania) . - It is regrettable that the Minister in charge of the Bill did not make some introductory remarks about the part relating to dumping, to enable honorable senators to form a fair judgment on what the Government and its legal advisers consider will be its effects. I cannot say that I have followed Senator Symon's reasoning, although I intend to support his amendment. I will, however, give mv own reasons in favour of it. -I agree with Senator Trenwith that the natural interpretation that would be put upon any exemption of Great Britain from the -provisions of this Bill, would be that we desired to show a preference to British dumping. But what is overlooked is that we are now dealing with a portion of the Bill which proposes to make a crime of a thing which is done every day, and done most legitimately in the ordinary way of trade.

Senator Playford - That is a reason for voting against the clause, but no reason for an exemption in favour of Great Britain.

Senator MULCAHY - I wish the Min,ister would explain his own views in his own time. An explanation on behalf of the Government would come better from him if he were on his feet. It is quite a common thing for goods to be .purchased in Great Britain as well as in foreign countries at a price greatly below their cost of production, and below the market price in the country where they are purchased. Australian merchants are constant! v importing goods from Great Britain, especially towards the ends of seasons, at a price below the cost of production. These goods are brought out to Australia, and sold cheaply with every advantage to the people of this country. We are going to make that practice an offence if this Bill is strictly interpreted. I wish to ask the legal representative of the Government in the Senate a question. I wish to know whether under this Bill unfair competition is merely part of an offence, or the whole offence? Is a man merely introducing goods which have been- purchased at a price below the cost of production, by so doing, to be held to be guilty of "an intent " to injure an Australian industry? " Unfair competition " is denned in clause 1 8, paragraph c of sub-clause 2, as applying to cases where the imported goods have been purchased abroad - at prices greatly below their ordinary cost of production where produced or market price where purchased.

That frequently happens, and I wish to know whether that alone would constitute an offence punishable by the forfeiture of the .goods?

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