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Thursday, 30 August 1906

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - Personally, I cannot agree to allow the amendment to pass as it stands. Whilst the idea conveyed to the Committee by Senator Trenwith's interjection was absolutely correct, I am afraid that the words he suggested would not fit in. What is wanted is a form of words which will convey a direction to the authorities called upon to adjudicate under this Bill to take into consideration the question of whether the management, plant, machinery, and processes in the local industry are reasonably efficient.

Senator Playford - Do not the words "regard shall be had" convey that direction?

Senator MILLEN - That may be so, but with the words of Senator Pearce's amendment, the sub-clause might be construed into an affirmation that the management, processes, and plant of the Australian industry are reasonably efficient. I entirely agree with the object which Senator Pearce has in view, that only an industry which is carried on efficiently and with an up-to-date plant shall get the benefit of the proposed protection, that we should not by our legislation enable a laggard employer, an inefficient factory, and a slovenlymanager to compensate for their want of enterprise at the expense of the public

Senator Playford - We are all agreed upon that; it is only a question as to how we shall state it.

Senator MILLEN - Exactly ; and I admit that at the moment I am unable to suggest a form of words which will meet the difficulty. We might pass the clause now on the understanding that it will be recommitted to-morrow, if necessary.

Senator Pearce - Why not carry the amendment which I have moved, and then let the Government consult their law officers as to whether any further amendment is desirable?

Senator MILLEN - The amendment originally proposed by Senator Pearce appears to me to be expressed in a more lucid form than the amendment now proposed or the original clause.

Senator Pearce - The objection to that was that it might be held to be the sole determining factor as to whether the competition was unfair.

Senator MILLEN - It was a direct affirmation that where the machinery used was obsolete, the processes were ineffective, or the management slovenly, no consideration should be given to the industry.

Senator Playford - The honorable semitor might let it go now.

Senator MILLEN - I am not as old a parliamentarian as is the Minister, but I have had some few years' experience. I know where I am now, but I do not know where I should be to-morrow if the Minister were then to say that the words to which we agreed to-night are all right, and

I should then have no chance of securing a recommittal. If the Minister will give an assurance that the clause will be recommitted should Senator Pearce, myself, or any other member of the Committee think it well to submit an improved form of words, there can be no objection to letting it go through now. No one knows better than does the. Minister the difficulty of drafting a satisfactory amendment in the Chamber, and we must now either discuss the question until we hit upon a satisfactory form of words, or adopt the much more business-like course of consenting to a recommittal, if that should be considered necessary to introduce a better form of words to-morrow. The Minister has already said that he is prepared to consult the draftsman, and it would not take two minutes to-morrow if it were found desirable to introduce a satisfactory form of words.

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