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Thursday, 27 September 1906

Senator BEST (Victoria) .- By the technical meaning which Senator Drake has attached to " description" he has supplied the very reason why the words should be left out as the Government have agreed to do. I believe with Senator Millen that their retention would be calculated to cause serious difficulty in regard to interpretation, and, perhaps, to curtail the intention of Parliament. The idea is, I think, that every article which at present is not taxed should be liable to taxation hereafter. But the words "of a description," if they have any meaning at all, are calculated to limit that intention. In fact, they might, to a very large extent, nullify the measure. In the Customs Tariff Act we do not meet with words such as are proposed to be inserted in this Bill. Section 5, for instance, says -

The duties of Customs specified in the schedule are hereby imposed according to the schedule, as from the time of the imposition of uniform duties of Customs, or such other later dates as are mentioned in the schedule, in regard to any particular items, and such duties shall be deemed to have been imposed at such time and dates, and shall be charged, collected, and paid to the uses of the King for the purposes of the Commonwealth on all goods dutiable under the schedule -

Similar words are used in a succeeding section. In my opinion, the Government have acted wisely in agreeing to adopt the suggestion of Senator Millen.

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