Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Bill, 1934—Question of Procedure.

On a point of order, I wish to point out that the next item on the Agenda is the Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Bill. Normally, considering the remarkable provisions for restrictions on the sale of cattle contained in this Bill, the House might reasonably ask, at a time when the normal Press facilities of the country are not available, that the discussion on the Second Reading of this Bill would be postponed until the country generally would be able to get an interpretation of the terms of the Bill and when there might be some exchange of public opinion on the matter. There is this additional point which I wish to raise as a point of order. The Bill as circulated discloses that a levy will be raised in respect of every beast slaughtered. That is, it proposes to impose a direct piece of taxation. In the first place, the long Title of the Bill, as disclosed to the House, did not show in any way that a levy of that particular kind was contemplated. When under the Agricultural Produce (Amendment) Cereals Act it was contemplated to propose a levy on the sale of wheat, that was definitely proposed in the long Title.

When the First Reading of the Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Bill was proposed here, the House could not possibly understand that it was proposed to impose taxation by this Bill. This Bill proposing a levy seems to me to be an unprecedented departure from order. Before the circulation of this Bill was asked for, a Ways and Means Resolution ought to have been discussed in the House when the House would have an opportunity of discussing in Committee what this levy was, the extent of it, and for what exactly it was to be used. I submit that in the first place it has been an unprecedented departure from order to produce a Bill of this kind without a Ways and Means Resolution, and, secondly, that it would be out of order to proceed with the Bill until the House has an opportunity of discussing the proposals for imposing a levy in respect of the slaughter of animals in the absence of a Ways and Means Resolution being placed before the House.

Deputy Mulcahy has raised two points of order. First as regards the absence of publicity for this important measure owing to the strike in the printing trade, the Bill has been ordered by the House for consideration to-day. That order can only be discharged and superseded by the House itself. The second point presents more difficulty. According to Standing Order 101 every Motion for any aid, grant, charge or levy on the public should be preceded by what is usually styled a Ways and Means Resolution unless such charge is merely incidental to a Bill. In the case of the Cement Bill the House agreed to the passage of the Bill though there was no such preliminary Resolution. It seems to me, however, that the levy is a fundamental principle of the Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Bill, and as this measure deals with an industry of basic import, the Chair is of opinion that the precedents referred to by the Deputy should be followed and that a ways and means resolution should be put down for to-morrow, and the Second Reading postponed until to-morrow. Before giving a definite decision I should like to hear the Minister on the place of the levy in this Bill. Could the levy be regarded as merely incidental?

Dr. Ryan

I did not quite catch the point of order. The levy is certainly a very important part of this Bill; the point is whether it can be held to be an integral part or an absolutely necessary part.

The Minister would not say that it is merely incidental?

Dr. Ryan

The Bill could not in the ordinary way go without that levy. Further than that, I did not know that this point of order was to be raised.

The Chair was only made aware of it five minutes ago. It is the opinion of the Chair that it would be advisable to postpone the Second Reading till to-morrow, and put down a Ways and Means Resolution to precede it.

Dr. Ryan

In that case perhaps the House would be agreeable to take the Committee and Report Stages of the Ways and Means Resolution to-morrow.

Order discharged, to be taken to-morrow, 2nd August, 1934.