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Wednesday, 23 November 1910

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) (Honorary Minister) . - Senator W. Russell has stated that he is satisfied that the proposed definition would materially assist Customs officers in defining fancy boxes. They are extremely desirous that the schedule shall be passed as submitted, because they find it exceedingly difficult at times to do full justice to importers and to the Act. Here is an anomaly in connexion with the matter under discussion. Pins which are imported in fancy boxes from Great Britain are admitted duty free, but the boxes are liable to a duty of 25 per cent. ; when pins are imported in fancy boxes from Germany, the pins and the boxes are subject to a duty of 5 per cent. There is an anomaly which it is desired to rectify.

Senator Vardon - I do not see how the Department can rectify it without a definition.

Senator FINDLEY - Every importer knows what fancy boxes are according to the departmental definitions laid down in this booklet.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - We want a definition in the Act.

Senator FINDLEY - We cannot embody a definition in the Act. Any person who is in doubt as to how certain articles should be defined, or as to what duties are payable, has only to consult this booklet, which is his guide.

Senator Vardon - And that is made up after some article comes in.

Senator FINDLEY - When the difficulties are found out. Surely Senator Vardon is not vain enough to imagine that he ran frame an amendment which will, for all time, provide for every fancy box that can be devised. It would be impossible for any honorable senator to do so. The departmental officers have had years of experience of this work, and have formulated their own working definition.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - It is left to the imagination.

Senator FINDLEY - No, it is not. The departmental definition is in print, so that every importer can understand it. I trust rhat the Committee will not agree to the amendment.

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