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States may levy charges for inspection laws.

112. After uniform duties of customs have been imposed, a State may levy453 on imports or exports454, or on goods passing into or out of the State, such charges as may be necessary for executing the inspection laws455 of the State; but the net produce of all charges so levied shall be for the use of the Commonwealth; and any such inspection laws may be annulled by the Parliament of the Commonwealth.

UNITED STATES.—No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws; and the net produce of all duties and imposts laid by any State on imports or exports shall be for the use of the Treasury of the United States, and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress. (Const. Art. I., sec. X. sub-s. 2.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—Clause 13 of Chap. V. of the Commonwealth Bill of 1891 was as follows:—

“A State shall not impose any taxes or duties on imports or exports, except such as are necessary for executing the inspection laws of the State; and the net produce of all taxes and duties imposed by a State on imports and exports shall be for the use of the Commonwealth; and any such inspection laws may be annulled by the Parliament of the Commonwealth.”

At the Adelaide session, the same provision was adopted, but with the introductory words “After uniform duties of customs have been imposed,” and with the substitution of “imposts or charges” for “taxes or duties.” At the Melbourne session, a suggestion by the Legislative Council of New South Wales to omit the second part of the clause was negatived. Mr. Isaacs pointed out that, according to American decisions, the prohibition did not apply to inter-state trade, and would not affect the police powers of the States. A question was raised by Mr. Henry whether the clause applied to wharfage rates, and whether marine boards and harbour trusts would be affected. Mr. Barton replied that charges for services were not imposts. Mr. Glynn proposed to add, after “inspection laws of the State,” the words (suggested by the Parliament of Tasmania):—“Or by way of payment for services actually rendered in improvement or maintenance of ports or harbours or in aid of navigation.” Mr. Barton thought the amendment dangerous, and it was withdrawn for further consideration. (Conv. Deb.,


  ― 943 ―
Melb., pp. 646–52.) Before the first report, the clause was thrown into the enabling, instead of the prohibitive form—the prohibition being already contained in secs. 90 and 92. After the fourth report the clause was further amended by the addition, after “imports or exports,” of the words “or on goods passing into or out of the State.”

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