In 1927, I think, when the rules were amended, the necessity was removed for preceding a matter of trade by resolution, when it does not involve putting
Australian Trade Agreement
charges upon the people and things of that kind. I am informed by the clerk that this is the rule at present. With respect to the Statute of Westminster we were simply petitioning His Majesty to lay before his parliament certain legislation. In this instance a trade agreement has been arrived at which affects the future of this country, and parliament is being asked to ratify and confirm it, but it does not come into force until proclamations are issued in both countries. The only difficulty is that certain tariff items must be approved of before the bill is read the first time, and the committee on ways and means should have disposed of those tariff items first. I consulted the clerk at the table with respect to the matter, and he advised me that under the practice of this house the bill should not be proceeded with until such time as the tariff items in the agreement had been sanctioned by the committee, following which the bill to confirm the agreement will be introduced.