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Friday, 20 July 1906

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister of External Affairs) . - In moving -

That the House do now adjourn,

I desire to say that the debate upon the contract for the mail service to Europe will be proceeded with on Tuesday afternoon. If my honorable colleague, the Minister of Trade and Customs, is able to be present, it will be preceded by tods explanation of the provisions of the Bounties Bill. He wishes me to call public attention to a statement made by the Chairman of the Tariff Commission, and which was published in last Tuesday's Argus, in the course of which, speaking of the Tariff Commission's report, he said -

Unexpected debate may be raised over details, I have already received a letter from one of the leading distillers in Australia, in which he says : - " The report is, on the whole, highly satisfactory to us, and we think also that it will give great satisfaction to Australian distillers generally." Then he goes on to refer to certain conditions and methods of distillation, discussed in the report, which he regards as flaws, and says that, although they are quite subsidiary, they will not go unchallenged, and that the points raised will surely be debated in Parliament. This looks like an appeal from the Commission to Parliament. It was the possibility of the discussion of details, rather than of fundamental principles, that I had in my mind when I urged immediate consideration and) no further delay.

May I say that the proper course for the distillers in question to adopt - or for any persons who have any practical suggestionsto make, either in reference to reports of the Tariff Commission which have already .'teen presented, or which have yet to be presented - is to communicate immediately, and. as fully and clearly as possible with the Minister of Trade and Customs. Then, instead of their complaints being launched in the House, without having first received that expert consideration which will require to be given them, and which I presume the members of the Tariff Commission will not now undertake, the Minister will be informed of them, and his officers will be able to criticise them before their submission to Parliament.

Mr Fisher - That is always the case.

Mr DEAKIN - So I hope. But we hear of a communication forwarded to the Chairman of the Tariff Commission after it has presented its report upon a particular subject - a communication of which my colleague and his officers have no knowledge. Time will be lost, unless the course which I have suggested, is followed. Persons having any complaints to make, should at once write fully to the Minister of Trade and Customs in order that he may 'have the matters to which they take exception inquired into before the debate takes place in this House. We all desire to save time. We already feel the pressure of the session's work. More reports are promised by the Tariff Commission, and in order to obviate any adjournment of the discussions upon them, we wish those affected by the reports of the Commission to communicate at once with the Minister. His officers will give the representations. their best consideration.

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