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Thursday, 12 July 1906

Mr HENRY WILLIS (Robertson) . - I said something yesterday about the appointment of a Justice to deal with these questions. I do not think that he is likely to be the most competent person for the purpose.

Mr Isaacs - That has been already agreed to.

Mr HENRY WILLIS - I am aware of that. Under: the Local Government Act in England they have a Local Governing Board, presided over by the Minister. This is a permanent Board, charged with the duty of considering business matters. The honorable member for Parramatta referred to certain machinery manufactured in Victoria, that was said to be good enough for the purpose. But while that machinery would do its work, it would scarcely be fair to manufacturers, workers, or consumers in Australia that it should be allowed to keep improved machinery out of the market. If, as has been pointed out by the honorable member for Lang, some manufacturers are working barium or glucose into leather, and are thus deteriorating the products of another industry in Australia, should we not have a Board of competent men who would understand the business, and would prevent the continuance of such a practice? I saw no objection to the clause which provided for a permanent Board to control those industries. No Judge of the High Court is competent to decide as to the machinery and methods to be used in manufactures - to decide as to whether an industry shall exist to the exclusion of uptodate machinery. To prohibit such machinery would be against the interest of the manufacturer, of the artisan, and of the consumer. There ought to be a competent Board, in order to secure an industry from prejudicial decisions, which may be the result of ignorance. The ComptrollerGeneral of Customs cannot be expected to know the circumstances of every manufacture, and it seems to me that the clause as drafted, or even as proposed to be amended, is not likely to give the greatest satisfaction. My reason for speaking is merely to emphasize what I have before stated. I feel pretty sure that if the Bill becomes law, this is one of the provisions which at some future time will have to be reconsidered.

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