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Wednesday, 17 December 1930

Senator DALY (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - The objection raised by the honorable senator can be met by a reference to a subsequent clause. It will be seen that sub-clause 2 of clause 2 provides for the appropriation of the amounts which may be necessary to repay to the bank any amount due to it under this guarantee. Obviously, a further appropriation is necessary if amounts are to be repaid to other corporations. Appropriations, as honorable senators are aware, must be introduced in another place, by a message from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral. And as the Acting GovernorGeneral is now on his way to Melbourne, that procedure is, for the moment, impossible. I mention that, not as the sole reason why the amendment should be rejected, but to point out that if honorable senators felt that these words should be inserted, it would be impracticable to incorporate them in the measure if it is to be passed before the Christmas vacation.

Senator Sir George Pearce - Why?

Senator DALY - Because the amendment involves an appropriation.

Senator Sir George Pearce - No more than the bill now does.

Senator DALY - The introduction of words which would involve an appropriation of money to some other authority would be a new appropriation in law. I had the advantage of consulting with the ActingSolicitor-General on the matter and his considered opinion is that the only way that the amendment could be inserted would be by adopting the procedure that I have outlined.

Senator McLachlan - Is the message limited to the Commonwealth Bank?

Senator DALY - It is.

Senator McLachlan - That is a most unfortunate way in which to bring in a message.

Senator DALY - It may be, but there is no practical advantage to be gained by insisting on the amendment, as I shall demonstrate to honorable senators. It is obvious that Senator Carroll desires to cover the Western Australian and South Australian pools. Under clause 4 of this measure, we can cite the Western Australian pool as a "prescribed person." The pool would then have the benefit of the guarantee and accordingly would be able to make the necessary financial arrangements which overcomes Senator Carroll's objection.

Senator Sir George Pearce - By making the Western Australian pool come under clause 4?

Senator DALY - Yes, as a prescribed authority.

Senator Sir George Pearce - Thank you for nothing.

Senator McLachlan - The pool could not obtain any money then.

Senator DALY - Oh, yes, it could. There is to be an advance of 2s. a bushel, the remaining1s. being covered by subclause 3 of clause 4. In prescribing payments, an allowance will be made for merchants' profits, and the usual trading charges. There is sufficient machinery in the bill to meet those contingencies.

Senator McLachlan - It is a matter of want of power, rather than of machinery.

Senator DALY - I quite appreciati ve honorable senator's point, but I cannot understand the objection to the Government trying to safeguard the growers by providing that the benefit of this relief shall be guaranteed to them. If a grower chooses to safeguard his interests by co-operating with others in a pool, that pool, under clause 4, can be made a " prescribed person ", and collect and disburse money.

Senator Carroll - Are such bodies not bound to obtain their finances from the Commonwealth Bank ?

Senator DALY - This bill limits the power of the Government to find the necessary finance from the Commonwealth Bank to carry this measure into effect. The Minister may arrange for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to guarantee to give to the growers of wheat or to any prescribed person, on behalf of the growers, the finance that is specified in the measure. It does not permit him to make the finances available through any other trading bank. With that exception there is no difference between the suggestion of Senator Carroll and the provisions of the bill. Unquestionably,, on the advice that I have received, the bill will have to be held up if the amendment is insisted upon.

Senator R D ELLIOTT (VICTORIA) - Is it not a fact that the Western Australian and South Australian pools were unable to obtain finances from the Commonwealth Bank in previous years, and were forced to fall back on the Wholesale Cooperative Association of Great Britain?

Senator DALY - I am not aware of the incident that the honorable senator has- in mind. This legislation clearly and unequivocally sets out that the Minister may arrange with the Commonwealth Bank to make payments, cither directly to the grower, or to any organization which the grower has joined. Whatever may have been done under previous schemes, under this measure the Commonwealth Government can go to the 'Commonwealth Bank and tell it what money it desires advanced, and the persons to whom the money is to be advanced

Senator R D ELLIOTT (VICTORIA) - Provided it were able to make the advances, all would be well and good.

Senator DALY - -The defence of non possumus was not raised by Senator Carroll. The honorable senator's question was whether, under this scheme, organizations such as the Western Australian and South Australian pools would be debarred from the benefits of this legislation.

Senator Carroll - I ask the honorable senator, as the Leader of the Government in. the Senate, to say whether r.hat is so.

Senator DALY - My contention is - and I give this advice to the Senate after consultation with the highest legal authorities in the Commonwealth - that it will not. exclude the Western Australian pool; that the Commonwealth can arrange for money to be paid to that and the South Australian pool so that it can be distributed to the growers of wheat.

Senator SirGEORGE PEARCE (West eni Australia) [5.44] .-First of all, in dealing with the point that arrangements could be made for the Western Australian pool to" be declared a " prescribed per son 1 interjected " thank you for nothing ". That would merely place the Western Australian pool on the same footing as the ordinary wheat merchants. During my second-reading speech I pointed out the probability of the wheat merchants not operating under this bill. The difference between their position end that of the pool is that the pools get their money as the transactions go on. whereas the wheat merchants have to wait until the end of the year. In the meantime they have to operate on their own capital. Under the proposals of the Government, the Western Australian pool would, in that connexion, bc in the same position as are the wheat merchants; it would be at a disadvantage as compared with the other pools. The Western Australian pool will not welcome such a Disposal. Nor is it necessary.

I come now to the objection of I heLeader of the. Senate (Senator Daly) to the moving of this amendment. The bon- orable gentleman says that it will necessitate a Governor-General's message in another place. I hesitate to set my knowledge as a bush lawyer against, thai of the legal gentleman who has advised the Minister; but I venture the opinion that the advice offered to the Minister is based on one set of circumstance?, whereas we are dealing with another fct of circumstances. Had the amendment been moved in another place it might have required an appropriation and, consequently, a message from the GovernorGeneral. But it has not been moved in another place. The powers of the Senate in this respect have been tested long ago, and practice has established the Senate's position. The Senate may not amend any proposed law so as to increase any proposed charge or burden on the people. An amendment in another place, which would increase the burden on the people, does require a GovernorGeneral' message; but long ago ir was decided that, although the Senate may not amend any proposed law so as to increase the burden on the people, it may request an amendment of the law. Tm Senate has the power either to amend or to make a request. When it requests an amendment, another place can make thai amendment without a message from the Governor-General. That practice has been followed in many instances.

Senator Daly - If that view is sound, I havenoobjection to the course proposed.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.There is another point. As a Minister I never experienced any difficulty in obtaining a message from the GovernorGeneral of the day. He may have been in the wilds of Australia, but by some mysterious means a message was received from him when required. I have a suspicion that message forms were sometimes signed by him, and that all that was required to obtain one was to call up his office on the telephone. In these higher circles there seems to be some such thing as telepathy, which enables these things to be done. I am sure that the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Daly) will have no difficulty in this matter either as to time or as to the point raised. If a Governor-General's message is necessary to give effect to a request of the Senate, it can be obtained at short notice. It is not desirable that the Western Australian pool should be placed at a disadvantage compared with other pools.

Senator Daly - How would any alteration place the Western Australian pool in a better position?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - All we ask is that it be put on the same footing as the other pools.

Senator Daly - Where would it get finance?

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.It would get it from an institution which we hope the Government will prescribe as an institution under this bill. We do not desire to confine the granting of finance to the Commonwealth Bank. We desire that the British Wholesale Cooperative be proclaimed an institution.

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