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Thursday, 30 August 1906

Senator TRENWITH (Victoria) . - I wish to point out to Senator Drake that the assessment of the amount which may be claimed under the bond is a matter which must be decided at once, and decided upon evidence.

Senator Drake - So is the prohibition.

S'enator TRENWITH.- The real question at issue is how much is recoverable under the bond. Let us suppose for the sake of argument that a person has imported ,£10,000 worth of goods, and that a bond for that amount has been lodged with the Minister. Let us further suppose that during the progress of the trial the importer has distributed ,£5,000 worth of those goods. Should it be held that the goods have been imported with intent to destroy or injure an Australian industry, the distribution of those goods would constitute an offence. Under the circumstances, the Justice might say that it was a proper thing for the Government to recover the sum , of £5,000. That is the penalty which would be provided for any such breach of the law. A prohibition might then be imposed upon the importation of similar goods. But it is quite conceivable that circumstances might arise under which it would no longer be an injury for the goods to be imported, and, therefore, provision is made that the GovernorGeneral may modify the prohibition. The contingency which I have outlined appears to me to be a reasonable one, and would explain why, in the first instance, the Court is vested with power to deal with, these questions, and why the GovernorGeneral in Council is subsequently empowered to modify its decisions. It is obvious that a decision might be given by the Justice which ought not to be modified either to-day or to-morrow, or possibly next year, but which might, with perfect propriety, be modified the year after.

Senator Drake - Is that the correct interpretation ?

Senator TRENWITH - It is one interpretation which presents itself to my mind, and it is a sufficient reason for the insertion of this provision in the clause.

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