Opinion Number. 186

Subject

PROHIBITED IMPORTS WHETHER GOODS IMPORTED INTO ONE STATE AND TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER STATE WHERE IMPORTATION IS PROHIBITED ARE PROHIBITED IMPORTS INTO COMMONWEALTH

Key Legislation

CUSTOMS ACT 1901, ss. 52.55 : HEALTH ACT OF 1900 (QLDj. ss. 93, 103

Date
Client
The Comptroller-General of Customs

The Comptroller-General of Customs:

It appears that in February 1904 certain tea was transferred from New South Wales to Queensland, and on analysis in Queensland was found to be adulterated with 'lie-tea'.
It appears that the tea was originally imported into New South Wales under the old State tariff (presumably before the passing of the Customs Act 1901) and was not then analysed.

By a Queensland Order in Council made under the Queensland Health Act o/1900 (gazetted 4 June 1903) iie-tea' is declared to be an injurious ingredient in tea.

Under section 93 of. the Queensland Act it is an offence to sell in Queensland any food mixed with any ingredient declared by Order in Council to be injurious.

Under section 103 of the Queensland Act the consignee of any food 'imported into Queensland' must permit any authorised officer to take samples thereof, and if upon analysis or examination it is found to be adulterated or impoverished, or mixed with any other substance so as to affect injuriously its quality, substance, or nature, the food is not to be delivered to the consignee except with the sanction of the Commissioner of Public Health, and subject to such terms and conditions as he thinks fit to impose. If it is found to be unfit for the food of man, it is to be destroyed or otherwise dealt with as the Commissioner directs.

The question has arisen whether the tea is a prohibited import by virtue of section 55 of the Customs Act 1901.

The Comptroller-General forwards the papers for advice with the following memo:

The favour of advice on the point raised in this correspondence is requested.

Section 55 of the Customs Act apparently refers to articles 'imported' into any State. In this case the tea was imported into New South Wales and subsequently transferred to Queensland.

Would the special Act of the State of Queensland be operative in this instance? If it is operative, are all the special provisions of the Customs Act relating to tea applicable to tea transferred to Queensland?

Sections 52 and 55 of the Customs Act 1901 do not apply to interstate transfer: see Mr Deakin's opinion of 4 June 1902(1) in the case of the Viavi Health Book; opinion of 12 March 1903(2) in the case of French candles; and opinion of 16 July 1903(3) in the case of essences of wine.

In this case therefore the State Act-even assuming it to prohibit the importation of the goods into Queensland-does not apply to these goods by virtue of section 55 of the Customs Act 1901, so as to make them prohibited imports for the purposes of the Customs Act.

[Vol. 4, p. 272]

(1) Opinion No. 71.

(2) Not published [Vol. 3, p. 210].

(3) Opinion No. 143.