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Uniform duties of customs.

88. Uniform duties of customs373 shall be imposed374 within two years after the establishment of the Commonwealth.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—This provision was first suggested by the Finance Committee at Adelaide, and was first drafted as part of the “exclusive power over customs' clause. Sir George Turner suggested that the uniform tariff, instead of coming into force suddenly, should be led up to by a sliding scale. The Drafting Committee afterwards placed the provision as a separate clause. (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 835, 838.)

At the Sydney session, 1897, a general financial debate took place under cover of this clause. (Debates, pp. 35–222.)

At the Melbourne session Mr. McMillan, while sympathizing with the intention of the clause, thought it a mistake to fetter the discretion of the Parliament. Mr. Reid replied that New South Wales wanted a definite assurance of intercolonial free-trade, and without this there would be no guarantee that the tariff would not be deadlocked. (Conv. Deb., Melb., pp. 1011–4.)

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