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Tuesday, 19 June 1906


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Since then the importation of the machine has taken place, and it' there had been no quarrel between McKay and the other harvester trust people the probability is that we should never have heard of this Bill. I do not think that there will be any two thoughts about that iu the House. I have yet to learn that any one or two individuals outside may so pui 1 the political strings, and manipulate a Ministry as to lead it to introduce drastic measures of this kind into the Parliament of Australia. Everything points to the necessity of further information being supplied to the House concerning the depredations, if any, of these trusts; we ought to be shown what further justification there is for drastic legislation of this kind. That car. only be furnished to the House authoritatively, and with all the facts and circumstances surrounding the statistics, bv the Royal Commission which was specially set to inquire into them. We have had already a protest on this very point from a member of the Tariff Commission. I have never seen a Tariff Commission treated so scurvily as that body has been by the present Government. It has set the Commissioners aside, and flouted them time and again. Here is another instance of this treatment. Instead of waiting a few weeks or asking them to facilitate their report on this particular matter, no notice was taken of their proceedings or apparently of the fact that they are making a special investigation thereon. I think that, even now, the Ministry might well consent to postpone the consideration of this Bill until the Tariff Commission has reported, and the House is therefore in possession of all the facts and figures bearing on this important question. The Minister supplied the imports of iron, metal, and machinery. We have had those figures almost ad nauseam, time and again, in connexion! with general Tariff matters. He also supplied some figures about tobacco, but there, again, the information was only such as had been supplied in an ordinary Tariff debate. We have a right to know whether these trusts are interfering with Australian manufacturers, and threatening the total collapse of many of those industries to which we ali would greatly regret to see any injury come, and which we all. I think, should do our best to see are given every proper chance to compete and to prosper.

Sitting suspended f to m C28 to7 -jo p.m.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - There is .nothing, I repeat, in the figures presented to us by the Minister of Trade and Customs to furnish the slightest warranty for the introduction of this Bill. According to the Minister's own statement, the total value of the harvesters imported last year for the whole of Australia, was £[85,000.


Mr Skene - That represents about 1,300 machines.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I do not know how many it represents; but, if we take the statistics of the farming population of Australia, those importations amount to about 7s. 6d., or including all agricultural implements, about 30s. per farmer for the year.


Mr Watkins - Did the Minister give figures concerning the number of machines made in Australia?


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - No; but Mr. McKay himself has furnished some data by which we may ascertain that. I find that Mr. McKay, in his evidence before the Tariff Commission, said that his works turned out harvesters at the rate of about ten per day. That would mean, roughly speaking - supposing, he works full time - about 3,000 machines per year, and the value of them would be about £[250,000. We may, therefore, say that, all our local makers are turning out £[300,000 worth nf harvesters per annum, as against £[85,000 worth imported. So far as I am con:cerned. I could heartily wish that we were producing them all. I would not mind if Mr. McKay could beat the importer right out, of the market, so long as he does it fairly. " More power to him ! " I should say. But (he figures furnished by the Minister show no overwhelming menace to the interests of Australia such as should lead to the introduction of a Bill of this kind. I should like to make one other observation before entering upon the consideration of the Bill. It is an observation of protest against the Bill taking precedence of the question of Tariff revision. Reports' have been laid upon the table rea d v for the House to proceed with them. Others. I believe, are in course of preparation, and are approaching a state of completion. Yet this Bill is thrust before attempts to rectify Tariff anomalies, and to deal with those matters which have been declared bv the Prime Minister to containso much menace to our Australian industries, and in particular so much menace to those who are wanting work and are unable to find it. I should like to know from the Prime Minister what he contemplates doing in this matter of Tariff revision?

From end to end of the Commonwealth he has been preaching the doctrine that at the earliest possible moment we ought to attend to our imperfect Tariff, and make it more perfect in the interest of those who manufacture here. Is he saving this - shall I call it this fiscal apple of discord? - for the elections? It is too good a thing to throw awa)' upon a moribund House like this, waiting only to be dissolved ? ls he going to make this the first' and only plank in his platform ? 1 charge the Prime Minister now with trading upon this matter of Tariff revision for purely political and personal end's. If he is sincere about it - if he wants these anomalies rectified - why not proceed at the earliest possible moment with the consideration of the reports of the Commission? Why not get. this matter placed upon a proper footing, as early as possible? But, as I have already said, it is far too good a thing to let loose at the present moment, and it has to do duty at the next election as a battle-cry, in order to get the Prime Minister and his followers back to this House, in conjunction with the Socialist Party of Australia, who are moving heaven and earth to achieve that end. Ministers ought to give some explanation as to the supreme haste with which they are proceeding with this Bill, and the extreme dilatoriness with which they are dealing with the matter of Tariff revision and Tariff settlement. With regard to the immediate question before the House, I do not propose to deal with the details of the measure. Thev have already been ably traversed by the honorable member for North Sydney ; and there is no man in this Chamber who can address himself to a question of this kind with so much business experience, and with so much ability to use that experience, and to bring it to bear upon the consideration of these difficult and important matters, as that honorable member does. I think I do no injustice to any other honorable member when I say that he appears to stand almost alone in this respect. I, therefore, shall not trouble so much about the details of this measure. I wish to address myself to its main and fundamental principles ; to see how this. Bill is affected bv a consideration of the principles of trade "trustification " - if I may use a term coined the other day bv the Prime Minister - to see now far those fundamental principles are contravened by this Bill, and to try, if possible, so to shape the measure as to make it accord with such, principles as appear to have the force and effect of natural laws. It will be admitted, I think, that we are living to-day in a peculiar era. While those natural laws which sweep through the world, and have to do with everything mundane, are unchangeable, their application is of a very multiform character, and is constantly varying with the changing needs and moods of the moment and of the times. All our old customs, and methods of thought, have to be brought face to face with the sweep of those great natural laws. And it does * seem, looking over the world just now, as if, the more need there was to pay attention to these natural laws, to try to understand them, the more readily and the more peremptorily it is sought to set them aside entirely. All that we seem to trust to nowadays is what is expedient for the passing hour. But whether we like it or not, these natural laws will in the long run be obeyed ; and if Parliaments or individuals seek to subvert them, or to run contrary to them, so much the worse for the individual, and so much the worse for Parliament. Yet in spite of this great fact, we seek to rear our puny legislative enactments from time to time against them as if we could in some way alter the whole scope and purpose of their intent and change their course altogether.


Mr Fowler - That is a magnificent Anarchist utterance - natural law with no modification at all bv human intelligence !


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I, of course, made no such foolish remark. I hope the honorable member will wait until I am through, and will then judge whether I seem to be Anarchist or not. The fundamental principle of this Bill, as I take it, is that all commercial trusts are bad. That is the first thing that I find fault with in the Bill. It makes no distinction between trusts. It makes no inquiry into them as to whether they are good or not. It indicts them all as trusts, good or bad. There, I think, the framers of the Bill make the first great fundamental mistake. What are these trusts but simply the embodiment of the spirit of concentration which is abroad. All the currents of the time seem to run towards centralized control and centralized operation. I do not know whether this tendency can be avoided or not. I am afraid it cannot. Because the whole world just now seems to be moving in that direction. Every current, social, political, and religious, seems to be trending in the one direction - that of centralized control, and large, capable management. It is said, for instance, that the day of small empires has gone. At any rate, empires seem to be growing larger in extent and in authority, and small empires are becoming rapidly a thing of the past. We may be told that that can be checked or altered. But there is (he broad fact - it is going on at present all over the world, wherever we care to turn our eyes, and it applies to almost every department of human life. What is the direction of thought in connexion with our churches? Clearly and unmistakeably towards union. Larger churches are absorbing smaller ones. We find this tendency operating in the industrial world as it operates in every other department of life in its social, 1 religious, moral, and industrial aspects. When we find a law operating in that way, it is, at any rate, very good evidence that it is a natural law which inheres in the very structure of things, and which is unalterable and ineradicable by any mere human effort. We find the same tendency operating in relation to many other matters. For instance,, the wealth of the world has a tendency to concentrate itself. We find the realm of finance limiting itself to definite and clearly-defined areas. The same thing applies to the world's fashion. It is a common saying that one has to go to Paris for latest fashions. It applies to printing. Nearly everything has this tendency to concentrate itself in some particular locality where it may find its most advantageous sco;pe. The same law applies to wealth, to science, to art, and to industrial production. What are our great educational institutions, our universities? What are they but great educational trusts, where every species of learning is highly specialized, and where the greatest possible educational achievements) are arrived at only bv the process of specialization? Our universities do in the matter of education what the lower schools could not possibly do, because thev have these means of specializing learning and collecting it all under one central control or management.


Mr Bamford - That is what we are fighting for.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - If the honorable member is fighting for that I shalt be glad to hear him say something in criticism of this Bill, which I am afraid will in no way contribute to that end.


Mr Carpenter - It is an outside affair that we are dealing with.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Do I understand that the party to which the honorable member for Fremantle belongs is in favour of this Bill?


Mr Carpenter - The honorable member wild find that out when the vote is taken.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I always understood that the fundamental principle of that party was the taking over and nationalization of the operations of these trusts, and not their regulation, control, or supervision.


Mr Hutchison - According to the honorable member's argument the nationalization of these industries would be a good) thing, because it would lead to more centralization! and more specialization.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I am afraid that we shall part company shortly. I am pointing out now what seems !io be the operation of a great natural law as applied to our industrial life. I am as fre'e to admit the operation of such laws as is any member of the Labour Party, and I differ from that party only as to what is the bes way in which to treat these great corporations. I believe this principle of concentration, or co-operation, shall I say, to be a great natural law. The question arises: If it is such a law, ought we to attempt to repress it ? Can we do so if wetry ? When we have tried our best, we shall, I fear, find that all our puny legislative efforts have not enabled us to do so. But ought we to try to suppress these natural laws, or ought we not rather to attempt to guide or control them, and to get them to operate in our way, and bring to us all the advantages which they are capable of conferring?


Mr Carpenter - A natural law should take its course, and should not be controlled.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable member think that we do not requirelightning conductors ?


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I am afraid the honorable member is not following me. A natural law will take its course inevitably, but we can control and guide its effects uponourselves. That is the point I wish tomake. This is a proposal for trade repres- sion. That is the title of this Bill, which is a Bill to suppress what are called " destructive monopolies." The only place in which there is any mention of the word "destructive" is in the title of the Till. There is nothing in the clauses of the measure to suggest what its title so clearly indicates.


Mr Johnson - There is no definition of the word "monopoly," either.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - As bearing upon this matter, I do not thinkI can do better than quote a few words of the President of that great country where these trusts are operating to-day. Dealing with this matter in a message which he addressed to Congress a little while ago, President Roosevelt said distinctly thatthese trusts were part of the natural order of things, that the most they could do would be to eliminate their abuses, and that in no circumstances should they attempt to deal with them in any other than a regulative fashion. Speaking of the efforts which had been made in the various' States from time to time to control the trusts, he went on to say -

Dealing with the important question of corporations, it is an absurdity to expect to eliminate the abuses of any of the great corporations by Slate action. The National Government alone can deal adequately with them. To try to deal with them in an intemperate, destructive, or demagogic spirit would, in all probability, mean that nothing whatever would be accomplished, and with absolute certainty that if anything were accomplished it would be of a harmful nature.

I am inclined to think that this Bill comes under the category of the measures so heartilv and cordially denounced by President Roosevelt. I think it is an intemperate and destructive spirit in which the House is being asked to approach the consideration of this question. At any rate, that describes the spirit in which the Government is approaching it. President Roosevelt pointed out that that is the way not to do things, and that the results of such action would be worse than the condition of things which it is sought to remedy. We find theP resident of the United States defending trusts as such, for he says -

Great corporations are necessary, and only men of great and singular mental power can manage such corporations successfully. And such men must have great rewards.

This Bill says that ifa man has a great reward he should be indicted for it.


Mr Carpenter - How long is it since the President used those words?


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - They were used in theyear before last.


Mr Carpenter - He. is fighting the trusts now for! all he is worth.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Of course he is fighting them, but in what way?


Mr Carpenter - By legislation.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - There is nothing in the legislation which he has suggested which comes under the category of repression of trusts. All he is asking for is drastic powers of investigation, so that in the interests of public health the fullest possible Government inspection may take place. I should imagine that nobody objects to that kind of thing.


Mr Carpenter - He is dealing with trusts in his own country, whilst we have foreign trusts to deal with.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - What is the distinction ?


Mr Carpenter - The distinction is a verv important one.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Does mere locality enter into the consideration of this question? Are they only foreign trusts that my honorable friends are seeking to circumvent by this Bill ? Is it not supposed to aim also at Australian trusts?


Mr Fowler - We have Australian industries entering into combination with foreign trusts.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - And, as I remarked before dinner, if it had not been that that combination broke up I daresay that nothing would ever have been heard of this Bill. This Bill originated with the complaints of Mr. McKay.


Mr Mauger - Nonsense.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - But for him nothing would have been heard of it.


Mr Johnson - It is the result of a meeting held last November at the instigation of Mr. McKay.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - President Roosevelt, speaking of the Bureau of Corporations, goes on to say in his message that this Bureau will inquire into the beef trust. . We have heard a good deal at one time and another about these beef trusts.


Mr Thomas - We are hearing a good deal about them now.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - President Roosevelt savs that this Bureau will inquire into the beef trust, and is to accomplish its purposes by co-operation, not antagonism, by making constructive legislation, not destructive prosecution, the immediate object of its inquiries. Now the purpose of this Bill is destructive. It is framed to be destructive of trusts as such. There is, therefore, nothing in the attitude assumed by President Roosevelt which can be found to correspond with a Bill of this description. We have heard a good deal from time to time about this Bill following precedents, but there is no indication in it that it follows the latest utterances of the man who is confessedly a good judge in all these matters, and in whose supreme control a great part of the industrial life of America is centred just now. All he says is that the abuses of trusts should be eliminated, and these monopolies approached in a co-operative, and not an antagonistic spirit. He says -

Above all, we must strive to keep the highways of commerce open to all on equal terms.

In this Bill we have an attempt to close the highways of commerce. It proposes to keep them' open only on impossible terms, on terms which could not be subscribed to by any foreign manufacturer or worker.


Mr Carpenter - It proposes to prevent trusts from closing the highways of commerce to others.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - As I pointed out, the figures show that there are no highways closed at the present time. In connexion with imported harvesters, against which this Bill is specially aimed, the highways of commerce were so open last year that we imported harvesters to the value only of £[85,000, whilst Mr. McKay manufactured' them' to the value cf £[250,000. I was glad to learn that hp is holding his own. But I see in all this no menace to our Australian industries. There is certainly nothing which could not be controlled by Tariff operations, and certainly nothing which calls for a Bill of this drastic character. However, the Bill is here, and I am not going to vote against the second reading; but I say it is a fair challenge to the Government to ask them to prove the necessity for the measures which they bring before the Chamber. I make the challenge for the reason that, while there are many of our legitimate Federal functions yet to be developed, we are still straining and tugging on the marginal line between the States and the Commonwealth to set further and further powers to deal with matters with which we have no immediate concern, and which certainly do not press for solution. Such a mea sure was put through this House last session in the shape of the Commerce Bill. I say, therefore, that, instead of legislating on important urgent needs as they arise from time to time in the sane and steady development of our proper Federal functions, we are going out of our way to deal with matters which will bring us some sort of temporary political kudos, and which will contribute in some degree to the purely political issues being raised at the moment by the Government in power. Will any one tell me that had the alliance between the present and the late Prime Minister lasted we should have heard Mr. Deakin calling out for a measure such as this ?


Mr Thomas - Why, Mr. Reid would have brought it in.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I am sure that, if he had done so, the honorable member for Barrier would not have supported him.


Mr Thomas - Probably not.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - There is no probability about it; it is absolutely certain that the honorable member would not. Coming back to the underlying principle of this kind of legislation, I ask what are these trusts for? We are told that large management is more economical than small management. One management and one board are cheaper and more effective in their operations than are many managers and many boards. We get unity instead of diversity in the control of these great concerns. We get "single and thorough organization, instead of inharmonious variety," as one writer has put it. Or, to use his expression again, ' ' one large wheel means a great deal less friction than a number of small ones, whilst it has a great deal more power and a great deal more momentum." It seems as though these trusts, in some shape or form, are destined to continue, in spite of all we may do to prevent them. If they are simply savers of power, and mean a shorter cut to securing all that we require to satisfy our demands, why should they be suppressed? Why should thev be closed up and their operations brought to an end ? Their organization is more exact and complete, and their specialization more thorough, than that of smaller concerns, and organization everywhere means force and utility. My friends in the Labour corner have realized, and are to-day realizing that.


Mr Higgins - And the honorable member's party is realizing that they have the power.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - -Yes; and we are paying them the compliment of imitation. What applies to the organization of a political party applies to the organization of an industrial concern, and to every aspect of Our social and economic life. It seems as if this special and thorough organization, and this large management of which I speak, the world would get a great set-back. This Bill aims at the destruction of this large management as such, without taking into account whether it be fair or unfair. Repression is the key-note of the measure. That word is written in its very title, and appears on its foremost page. The question is, ought these organizations to be repressed ? The Government say that they should be repressed, whilst the Socialist says, "No; they should be nationalized."


Mr Thomas - Hear, hear.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I should like to know what the honorable member is going to do with the Bill, since it aims, not at nationalization, but at repression?


Mr Thomas - I prefer nationalization every time.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Is the honorable member, in the absence of nationalization, going to support repression ? No other honorable member is more continually pointing out the advantages of co-operative control in industrial life.


Mr Higgins - Under our Constitution we have no power to nationalize.


Mr Thomas - Then let us get the power.


Mr Wilson - If we have no constitutional power to nationalize, why did the Minister of Trade and Customs, in his speech, say that we could nationalize the tobacco industry ?


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - The members of the Government, more clearly than any other members in this Chamber, know .that nationalization is impossible under our Constitution. Why, then, have thev played the farce of letting loose Commissions to inquire into the possibility of nationalizing various industries ? Why did they incur the huge expense attaching to these inquiries, since they knew that nothing could come of them ?


Mr Isaacs - Who appointed the Tobacco Commission - which Government?


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - The present Government.


Mr Isaacs - No.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - A Select Committee to inquire into the tobacco monopolywas appointed by the House when the Reid-

McLean Administration was in power; but that Committee w:as turned into a Royal Commission by the present Government. Although they knew that under our Constitution we have no power to nationalize industries, the Government and the Labour Party have played the hollow farce of supporting these elaborate inquiries. Every one knows that Socialism is part of the programme of the Labour Party. I do not wish to do them an injustice.


Mr Watson - Hear, hear. We would not believe that.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Well, I talk pretty directly to them; I think that they will give me credit for that. I do not cover anything up ; but I would not willingly make an untrue statement about them. It is only fair to them to say that they think that, if they can make out a case for nationalization, they will, later on, successfully appeal to the country for an alteration of the Constitution, which will give them the requisite power to nationalize. In my opinion, the abuses attaching to large corporations will not be removed by the nationalization! of industries, but, if anything, will be increased. We shall do very much better if we deal with these industrial concerns as outside interests coming within the scope of our regulation and legislative control. If trusts are in themselves evil they should be suppressed ; but is a large corporation necessarily a bad thing? Is it an inherently evil thing? Are the evils which accompany spaciousness of control inherent in the operations of a trust? Are those operations necessarily conducted upon a moral plane different from that upon which similar operations, but of smaller dimensions, are conducted ? There seems to be in the mind of the Government who framed the Bill, and in the minds of many of those who are supporting it, the idea that trusts are in themselves bad things. But are all trusts bad things? That is the question which we must face in, dealing with this very important matter. Almost every primary effort to establish new material forces for the advancement of our civilization seems at first to have something in them of the nature of a. monopoly. But that is only a process, because the after effect is always diffusive, and not monopolistic. The early stages of development always partake more or Jess of the nature of monopolies. This, however, is only a process. The after effect is always diffusive. In this connexion I should like to hear our patent and copyright laws explained from a socialistic stand-point. It has always seemed to me anomalous that men who believe in the socialization of industrial pursuits should support the granting of patents and copyrights to .individuals.


Mr Fowler - Socialists desire to give inventors the benefit of their inventions.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Is there no other way of doing so than by preventing the rest of the community from using their inventions for a period of fourteen years? Very often the result of the patent laws is that men are forced to work with inferior tools after better too'.s have been invented. I could give an illustration in support of this statement in connexion with the working of our post-offices, if time permitted, and if it were strictly relevant to the question at issue. But what I am chiefly concerned in pointing out now is that honorable members who believe in the nationalization of industrial operations, and are opposed to the granting of individual rights, are willing to give inventors the sole monopoly of their inventions for a period of fourteen years.


Mr Hutchison - It is a great mistake. There ought to be no patent laws.


Mr Harper - Then there would be no inventors.


Mr Hutchison - I would encourage the inventor.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - The attitude of the honorable member for Hindmarsh is that which every Socialist should take up. No Socialist should grant an individual monopolistic right against the rest of the community, and protect those rights by legislative enactment.


Mr Fowler - Under Socialism, when persons are entitled to such rights they will get them: but they will get no more than their rights, and other persons will not be able to deprive them of those rights.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - The fundamental tenet of Socialism is that there should be no rights of individuals as against society.


Mr Watson - Those are the only rights under individualism.


Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member for Parramatta is wandering from the question.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I think so, too, Mr. Speaker. But I should like to mention in passing that I have seen it stated, and I believe it to be a fact, that the American aggregations of wealth to-day are founded mole or less on patent rights.


Mr Watson - No. What patent rights do the railway combinations, or the Standard Oil Trust hold ?


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - The statement seemed to me a very probable explanation of the present condition of affairs.


Mr Watson - It is not nearly correct, if one may judge by what has been written of American conditions.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I have no doubt that the honorable member could quote some strong examples to the contrary ; but I should like to know whether the Standard Oil Company is not in possession of patent rights which have helped it in its accumulations?


Mr Watson - Ridiculous !


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I venture to say that it is not ridiculous. Patent rights are held in connexion with every phase of industrial life, including the handling of products, and it seems to me extremely probable that a great many of the operations of the Standard Oil Company depend for their effectiveness upon the possession of such rights. That statement is not material to mv argument, though, if it be not true in regard to the Standard Oil Company, it is probably true in regard to many other companies. Who does not know of the great fortunes which have been built up by the possession of patent rights in connexion with railway carriages, engines, and other transport facilities. If one rides on the front seat of a Sydney electric tram-car, he cannot fail to notice that the handle by which the current is switched on to the motor passes, in it's circuit of the under.lying plate, the dates of ten or twelve different patent registrations applying to that particular device. All industrial concerns rely largely for their protection on patent rights, upon the possession of which largely rests to-day the possibility of huge accumulations of wealth.


Mr Hughes - Can the honorable member say that the half-dozen richest men in the United States of America have obtained their fortunes by the possession of patent rights?


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) -I cannot; but it is very probable that the aggregations of wealth rest largely upon patent rights, though the point is not- material, and was worthy of notice only in passing. No sane man would justify the villany which now and again attaches itself to the conduct of industrial operations. But is it a necessary accompaniment of these large cor- porations? ls it like the barnacles on a ship, merely an attachment, or does :i inhere in the very nature of their operations ? I do not believe that, if these large concerns could be nationalized, we should thereby get rid of the villany sometimes attached to their operations. We hear occasionally of strange things being done by those controlling Government Departments.


Mr Robinson - What about the management of the Fitzroy dock?


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - The management of Government Departments sometimes necessitates strict inquiry, and prosecutions.


Mr Hutchison - That is because they are nearly all run bv individualists.







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