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§ 366. “The Collection and Control of Duties of Customs and of Excise.”

COLLECTION.—By sec. 69 the departments of customs and excise become transferred to the Commonwealth on its establishment, and by this section the collection of the duties also passes at once to the Executive Government of the Commonwealth. That is to say, the duties continue to be collected by the same departments as before, but on behalf of the Commonwealth instead of the several States.

Until the imposition of the federal tariff (sec. 89) customs and excise duties will continue to be collected in the several States, according to their respective tariffs— which do not “cease to have effect” until then (sec. 90). During this period, customs duties will of course be collected on intercolonial trade as well as on imports from abroad. As long as the medley of tariffs remains, it would obviously be impracticable to allow the free passage of goods across the borders, and therefore intercolonial freetrade is postponed until the uniform tariff is in force (sec. 92).

Meanwhile, though the duties themselves are collected and controlled by the Commonwealth, the tariff of each State remains alterable by the Parliament of the State. The power to impose duties of customs and excise does not become exclusive with the Commonwealth until the first federal tariff is imposed (sec. 90); and until it becomes exclusive, the concurrent power of the State Parliament continues (sec. 107).

CONTROL.—By “control” of the duties is meant the disposal of them after collection. That “control” is of course subject to the provisions of the Constitution. The duties collected, instead of being paid into the Treasuries of the respective States, are paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Commonwealth (sec. 81) to be dealt with as the Constitution provides.

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