I beg to move Amendment 15. Section 16. Sub-section (2). To delete the sub-section.
This was one of the amendments originally put down in my name that I could not see my way to withdraw in the Special Committee. It appears to me to carry this matter of regulation almost to a state of absurdity; it is to try to effect the control of creameries and butter factories in a manner that will not be effective. This amendment and the next one really stand together and should be argued together. The Bill proposes to regulate the entry into registered creameries of all butter other than that coming from registered creameries. If you examine the wording it will be found that the Minister regulating this matter has to deal with very variable, very indeterminate conditions. One is if he is satisfied that there is "a temporary decrease in the quantity of the milk supplied." I really do not know how he can possibly satisfy himself upon that except by a very detailed analysis of the conditions obtaining at the moment, and also other similar purposes in other years. Any decrease in the quantity of the milk available will depend upon the seasons and a number of factors present on the farm almost impossible for the Government to discover. Or if the Minister is satisfied with the temporary decrease, then he is going to meet the "immediate requirements of the business"... "as normally carried on." There again he has to examine further into the trade connections of the business, whatever they may be, and barely even known to the business people themselves. They must obviously be of a very uncertain kind. Then he has also to examine the business "normally carried on"—another exceedingly vague condition.
Trade is a thing that is bound to fluctuate from year to year, depending upon foreign imports in the same market, depending upon purchasing power in the same market, and upon a number of very uncertain factors which go themselves to make up that exceedingly complex mechanism known as trade and commerce which, I submit, no Government is ever able to determine. All these initial difficulties are to be got over by a licence allowing the introduction on to the premises of butter of such and such description. He has to have certain guarantees as to the description of butter introduced under foreign brands, and in such quantities, which is again a very irksome condition I submit. No business can be sure of the quantities required for temporary purposes, yet it is to be entirely dependent upon the discretion and good-will of the Minister as to the quantities allowed. The same thing applies to "every such purpose." It is quite impossible in reality to determine the period of shortage, governed as it is by a number of conditions of business which even the business man himself, who is most concerned, will not know. Having fulfilled all these conditions, then the premises is allowed to bring in the supplies that are necessary to carry on its winter trade. I submit that is going too far and that these creameries are perfectly competent to do their own business. If they have a normal connection for their summer business, they are not going to prejudice their custom by introducing bad and inferior butter during the winter.
The Minister may say that all the butter going out is under our guarantee, but you cannot guarantee butter which is not manufactured, as this temporarily imported butter will not be, under your own control. I submit that in many cases it will be better or as good as the home-manufactured butter. I really do not see why the Government should be allowed to carry interference with private business to this unwarrantable length. I am not going to raise the general question—I have done that already—as to these provisions with regard to undue regulations. I think that the power proposed to be given here is such that the Senate would be well advised to withhold it from the Government.