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Wednesday, 19 September 1973
Page: 1247

Mr GRASSBY (Riverina) (Minister for Immigration) - The honourable member for Canning (Mr Hallett) has raised a specific point that deserves an answer. He said that because of the way in which the Bill has been drawn it would be unconstitutional to apportion the money as has been indicated by the Treasurer (Mr Crean), the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and myself on behalf of the Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt). I have taken advice on this matter and I refer the honourable member to the actual wording of the measure which states:

Subject to this Act, a charge is imposed on meat that is exported from Australia for human consumption, being meat that is so exported on or after the date of commencement of this Act and before 1 July 1976.

The Act then goes on to specify that it does not inhibit the Australian Government from so apportioning the money for the service charges as was mentioned by the Treasurer, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Primary Industry. That is the constitutional position. The safeguard to that is, as I said before, the consideration of the estimates for the Department of Primary Industry which will be examined with other estimates. Honourable members will be able to see that the undertakings given by the Government and all the relevant Ministers of government in relation to a service charge are in fact followed. But constitutionally in the way the Bill is drawn and the way the Act will stand there is no bar to the disbursement of the funds along the lines that I have indicated on behalf of the Minister for Primary Industry.

Amendments negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 4agreed to.

Proposed new clauses.

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