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Thursday, 30 August 1906

Senator DOBSON (Tasmania) .- I am not very clear what is the exact meaning of the clause, but I desire to ask Senator Keating two questions, the answer to one of which may tend to show that the amendment moved by Senator' Drake ought to be accepted. The first question is whether in paragraph b of subclause 1 the use of the word " Justice " is not premature?

Senator Keating - - No.

Senator DOBSON - As I understand the clause, the matter first comes before the Comptroller-General in a preliminary stage ?

Senator Keating - Yes.

Senator DOBSON - But how can the matter ever come before a Justice in a preliminary stage?

Senator Keating - I think I called attention to the words " or a Justice as the case may be." The competition may be deemed to be unfair in the opinion of the Comptroller-General, or in the opinion of the Justice.

S'enator DOBSON. - But if, in the opinion of the Comptroller-General, at this preliminary inquiry, the competition is unfair, he will give a certificate, and, later, this certificate will require the Judge to determine whether the imported goods are being imported with the intent alleged.

There is nothing said about the means employed ; and as to the intent alleged we have to refer to clause 19. According to that clause the Justice has to find that the importation is with the intent to injure an industry by the sale or disposal of the goods within the Commonwealth in unfair competition. But, as I pointed out before, nothing is said about the means employed. A tradesman might carry on his business in a fairly legitimate way, but, with a desire to better his position, he might adopt means deemed to be unfair. The Judge, is not, however, bound by clause 19 to consider the means, though he is so bound by paragraph b of sub-clause 1 of clause 18.

Senator Keating - The word " intent " in clause 19 governs all the words down to " unfair competition with any Australian goods."

Senator DOBSON - But the word " intent" does not govern paragraph b of subclause 1 of clause 18.

Senator Keating - " Unfair competition " comes in in the last few lines of sub- * clause 1 of clause 19. The Judge will still have to determine the matter, even though the Comptroller-General is convinced that the competition is unfair.

Senator DOBSON - What is the use of connecting the Justice with the preliminary inquiry ?

Senator Keating - It is not a preliminary inquiry. " Unfair competition " is defined in paragraph a of sub-clause 1 of clause 18 " for the purposes of this part of this. Act," and not for the purpose of the clause alone.

Senator DOBSON - My next question,. which may show that the words moved by Senator Drake should be inserted, is whether Senator Keating is of opinion that, when the Comptroller-General is giving the power to move in the matter, and certain things are done, that opinion is to be the absolute determination, without the defendant having any means of showing that the competition is not unfair?

Senator Keating - The defendant wilt have an opportunity.

Senator Drake - Not before the ComptrollerGeneral, I think.

Senator Keating - Sub-clause 4 of clause 19 says -

The Comptroller-General shall, before making his certificate, give to the importer an opportunity to show cause why the certificate should not be made, and furnish him wilh a copy of the complaint.

Senator DOBSON - Then there cannot be any objection to the insertion of the words moved by Senator Drake.

Senator Keating - The only objection is that they are surplusage.

Senator DOBSON - It seems to me that the words are logical and consistent with what comes afterwards.

Amendment agreed to.

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