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Thursday, 27 September 1906

Senator DRAKE (Queensland) .- In connexion with the 'schedule to the Customs Tariff Act, another example has just occurred to me. In my previous speech, I referred to the division under the head of "Apparel and Textiles." The next division is headed "Metals and Machinery." Articles in that division might be taken to be another description of goods. To different articles various duties are attached; but, in the list of special exemptions, we find -

Agricultural machinery and implements, viz., chaff cutter knives, hand-worked seed wheel drills and hand worked cultivators, huskers, and shellers, horse rakes -

If the words "of a description" have the meaning which has been suggested by Senator Millen, and are omitted, then special duties of Customs could be levied on particular articles which, in that Act, were exempted for a special reason. The words may have been inserted in the provision for the express purpose of preventing special duties being raised on particular articles which it was the policy of the law to exempt. I feel quite sure that it was not the intention of the framers of the amendment that the special duties should be raised on such articles. In my opinion, the Government would do well to take the advice of the Comptroller-General of Customs on the point.

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