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Thursday, 5 July 1906

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The ComptrollerGeneral will have power to impound the goods of the defendant.

Mr Isaacs - The Comptroller-General does not come under this provision at all. He has no power.

Mr Robinson - How do the operations of a particular trust come under the clause?

Mr Isaacs - Under this is not a question of importing goods at all.

Mr Glynn - The Attorney-General could apply under this part of the Bill, as well as under the other part.

Mr Isaacs - The Attorney-General has no power to stop any one. He can only apply to the Court.

Mr Glynn - He can institute proceedings.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It appears to me that under this Bill the AttorneyGeneral or the Comptroller-General of Customs will have power to hold up the goods of the defendant and to impound them, whilst under another part of the Bill, application is made to the Court. This Part of the Bill deals with foreign corporations. It is expressly intended to do so.

Mr Isaacs - Certainly.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Part III. of the measure will operate concurrently with Part II., so that there will be nothing to prevent the Comptroller- General of Customs from impounding the goods at the time that application is made to the Court through the Attorney-General to restrain the commission or continuance of any breach of the law.

Mr Isaacs - The honorable member is dealing with the two parts of the Bill, which are separate and distinct.

Mr.JOSEPH COOK. - They are separate and distinct, but, I take it, may operateconcurrently.

Mr Isaacs - We are now discussing the question of personal liability, which has nothing whatever to do with the ComptrollerGeneral.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We are discussing the question of unfair competition.

Mr Isaacs - Only in relation to personal liability.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - So far as that aspect of the matter is concerned, the explanation of the Attorney-General would be satisfactory if it were all contained in the Bill ; but it has occurred to me that, while proof is being furnished, and a charge is being sheeted home against a suspected offender, other provisions may be used to hold uphis business. The penalties which may be inflicted will be a mere fleabite compared with the loss which may be suffered by the dislocation of business, perhaps at a critical period.

Mr Isaacs - The provision relating to prima facie evidence does not concern the other part of the Bill, and would not help the Comptroller-General in the smallest degree. Clause 14 might; but it is independent of this provision. The ComptrollerGeneral could not rely on clause 6.

Mr Glynn - The Attorney-General could institute proceedings to prevent a man from entering into a contract under this clause.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It seems to me that both parts of the Bill have been framed to be used, and that if one is found to be inapplicable the other will be brought into use. Wemay be sure that all the powers given under the Bill will be taken advantage of to prevent the unfair competition of foreign goods. The danger I foresee is that, while an inquiry is being made, the business affected may be held up, and innocent persons, such as farmers waiting for agricultural implements at a time of harvest, may suffer in consequence, while the affairs of the supposed offender will, in any case, be deranged.

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