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Thursday, 30 August 1906

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - Apparently, I failed to make clear to the Minister the_ question which I asked by way of interjection. I am not now dealing with the question whether the Judge should have an option as to whether the prohibition should be absolute or conditional, but pointing out that, although the 1 intent may be proved, it is left optional with the Judge to say that there shall be neither conditional nor absolute prohibition. That is not what is intended. I know it is assumed, probably with good ground, that if a Judge finds that dumping has bee-n; committed or attempted, there ought to be no option in the matter.

Senator Pearce - The Judge might say that, having regard to producers and consumers, it was advisable to have the dumping.

Senator MILLEN - Then it would not contravene the Bill. The Judge, under the circumstances I indicate, would already have taken into consideration all the interests mentioned by Senator Pearce, and, with all the facts before him, found the defendant guilty ; yet it is left optional whether he shall inflict the penalty which the clause provides. That does not appear to me to be a business-like provision. We have passed many laws under which we leave much to the Minister ; and now I think we are giving an unduly large latitude to the Judge. I do not for one moment suggest the possibility, at any rate , in our time, of any undesirable influences swaying the decisions of our Judges ; but if we get into the habit of passing laws of this kind, we shall open the door to thosespecial circumstances to which some reference has been made this evening. To my mind, this is a most serious difficulty in the administrative portion of the Bill, quite apart from its principles^ because it means that, although a man mav be found guilty, the Judge can still say he mav go free.

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