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Tuesday, 5 December 1905
Page: 6219


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - He was expressing his opinion concerning the business of a private member.


Mr Isaacs - Mr. Clarke had reminded him that the Government had promised to take up and to pass the Bill.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - All that he said was that he, personally, favoured this proposal of a private member. Under whose auspices was the Bill finally passed?


Mr Isaacs - The whole House passed it.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Had the House been unanimously in favour of it, the Government would not have permitted a private member to remain in charge of it. Governments do. not usualy allow private members to pass Bills to which there is no opposition of any kind ; they are too ' desirous of placing such measures . on their own programmes.


Mr Groom - The honorable member does not deny tha accuracy of the quotation ?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not at all ?


Mr Glynn - There were speeches against the proposal.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The AttorneyGeneral read what was merely a statement of the Prime Minister of Canada concerning the business of a private member, which he said he, personally, would be glad to see passed.


Mr Glynn - What is of significance to us is that the Prime Minister of Canada left this an open question with the Go,vernment. Why do not Ministers here do the same?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Exactly. ' On the strength of a statement of the Prime Minister of Canada concerning a private member's business, the Attorney-General asks us to believe that the Canadian Government and House of Commons are in favour of this legislation.


Mr Isaacs - The Canadian House of Commons has four times passed legislation of this character.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The AttorneyGeneral tried to show that the Canadian Government Have been in favour of it.


Mr Isaacs - I did not say so.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Do honorable members trunk that if the Government of Canada had believed that a majority would solidly support! such a measure they would not have taken it out of the hands of a private member, and assumed charge of it themselves?


Mr McCay - If the measure now before us were a private measure, and Ministers were allowed to deal with it as an open question, the Bill would not pass.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We should be perfectly satisfied if this Government would treat the measure as the Canadian Government Treated a similar Bill. We have been told that the Canadian Senate has rejected the measure three or four times. May not that be the reason why the House of Commons has agreed to it? I have heard nominee Houses referred to as cowards' castles, because they afford an opportunity to members of the popular Assembly to evade their responsibilities by not offering opposition to measures which they know the Upper House will reject. When the honorable member for Wentworth asked the Attorney-General whether in Canada the union label- provisions were associated with a Trade Marks Bill, the latter declared that to be a quibble; but the question goes to the root of the matter, because the Government have themselves admitted that this Parliament has no constitutional right to legislate on the subject, unless union labels can be regarded as trade marks.


Mr Isaacs - I said long ago that our power to legislate in this connexion was covered by the trade marks provision of the Constitution..


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Exactly. Then why did the honorable and learned gentleman characterize the question of the honorable member for Wentworth as a quibble ?


Mr Isaacs - The Constitution of Australia is not the same as that of Canada, and therefore the question did not arise there. The point which I wish to make clear is that the Canadian House of Commons favours legislation of this kind.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The AttorneyGeneral admits that this Parliament has no right to legislate on the subject, except by doing what has not been done anywhere else in the world - in neither Canada nor the United States - by tacking these provisions on to a Trade Marks Bill.


Mr Glynn - Similar provisions were rejected in Canada when inserted in a Trade Marks Bill, because the Department reported against them.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Exactly. There is evidence on that point. The Commissioner of Patents and the Commissioner of Trade Marks were summoned to the Bar of the House to give expert opinion, on the subject.


Mr Knox - We have not taken such opinion here.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No. In both the United States and Canada the opinions of experts were obtained, and in both countries it was declared that legislation of this kind was entirely foreign to a Trade Marks Bill, and, consequently, was rejected when associated with such a measure. The AttorneyGeneral admits that this Parliament has no right to legislate on the subject, unless by some process of reasoning the union label can be brought within- the constitutional provision relating to trade marks.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In the United States of America the subject has been left to the legislation of the States. Why should not the same thing be done here? ,


Mr Knox - Had the framers of the Constitution any idea that the trade marks power would be used in this way ?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have 'already expressed the opinion that we are trying to extend our powers under the Constitution in every conceivable direction, and I am certain that if we pass these provisions the workers of the community will reap a crop of litigation which will be very costly to them. When they set that cost alongside the paltry benefits which will be conferred upon them, they will not thank us for legalizing the union label.

Honorable Members. - Divide ! divide !







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