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Wednesday, 3 October 1906

Senator TRENWITH (Victoria) . - Senator Symon proposes that unless the Governor-General is satisfied that no stripperharvesters or drills, as the case may be, are sold at prices exceeding those prescribed, the provisions of the clause shall apply, and the duty shall be reduced. That, I submit, would leave it in the power of any two evilly-disposed persons to frustrate the whole intention of the clause. Let us assume that 4.000 or 5.000 stripperharvesters are sold in Australia, and that it is proved that one stripper-harvester was sold at a price exceeding that prescribed. In such a case, the Governor-General could not be satisfied that no stripper-harvesters were sold in Australia because one had been sold.

Senator Best - And they would fake very good care that several were sold.

Senator Pearce - Does not that objection apply to the clause as it stands?

Senator TRENWITH - There may be an objection to the clause as it stands, but we are now dealing with the amendment of Senator Symon.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - I am quite willing that my honorable friend should submit something better than I have proposed, so long as it makes the clause effective if it is to remain in the Bill.

Senator TRENWITH - I am inclined to think that it would be extremely difficult to operate the clause as it stands. It seems to me that the intention of the clause is that the duties shall not operate if harvesters are being sold in the ordinary way of trade at more than the prices set out; that is, sold in an appreciable number, and not merely one or two.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - How many would the honorable senator call " an appreciable number"?

Senator TRENWITH - That would have to be left to the discretion of the Governor-General. If my honorable friend were administering the measure he would be able to discriminate between a sale that appeared to be instituted with an object, and a genuine sale. I agree that the clause would be difficult to work. I contend, however, that the amendment would be baneful to the last degree, because it would leave it in the power of any two evil-disposed persons to create a sale at a price which would render inoperative the intention of Parliament to give protection to this industry.

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