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Tuesday, 5 December 1905

Mr ISAACS (Indi) (Attorney-General) . - The first clause with which I wish to deal is clause 2, for the purpose of omitting " six " months and substituting " three."

I observe in the Argus newspaper of today a most erroneous statement. It is absurd, however one reads it, but it is erroneous when not absurd. It states that, with reference to the time of coming into operation of this Bill, I said last week that I had agreed to the period of six months in the absence of the Minister of Trade and Customs; who would be charged with its administration, and that since then the Minister had made inquiries, and had informed me that the work of preparing the necessary machinery could be done in a shorter time than six months.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That was not the reason mentioned.

Mr ISAACS - It was practically the reason. I explained the matter very clearly to the Committee. But that is not the point which I wish to make. It is stated in the Argus that the new amendment was not foreshadowed when the arrangement was made the other day for the completion of this Bill to-night. That is absolutely incorrect. Idid state, and I think that manyhonorable members will, bear me out-


Mr ISAACS - Some of them have told me to-day that they remember it. But it is also in Hansard, at page 5890. I distinctly stated, on the 28th November -

With regard to the commencement of the Act, honorable members will recollect that we amended clause 2 in order to provide that the Act shall commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation, not less than six months after its passing ; but I understand from the Minister of Trade and Customs that the Department can be organized very much sooner than that, so that we may have to recommit the clause, in order to shorten the period provided for.

Some honorable members of the Opposition have told me that they remember my statement; and there is no doubt that I was very careful to mention the matter. So that the statement in the Argus to-day is quite incorrect. It is also stated that members of the Opposition said that if the amendment which I foreshadowed were introduced, they would not consider themselves bound by their undertaking. I am sure that the members of the Opposition are too honorable to go back upon their undertaking, even if I had moved the recommittal without having previously intimated that I intended to do so, because there is no connexion between the two matters. I do not believe that the Opposition members ever said anything of the kind, but if they did, they were under a. misapprehension. I shall offer strong reasons for shortening the commencement. Six months is a long time. I had at first considered, as I stated at the time, that the Act could not be brought into operation for six or eight months. Because of the necessity of organizing the Department and taking over the State Departments I thought six months Would be necessary. But the Patent Office will have to take over (he Trade Marks branch, and the Minister of Trade and Customs tells me. it can be organized in about three months' time. It may take a little longer ; but all we desire to do is to provide a minimum., and to say it shall not be less than three months. That is a concession. Honorable members must recollect that, inasmuch as we are by this Bill keeping the States Acts in operation for fourteen years from the time at which a trade mark is granted under those Acts, we shall every month be allowing new trade marks to be registered under the States Acts, extending the operation of those. Acts, creating confusion, and delaying uniformity. We do not desire to hurry the matter unduly ; but, on the other hand, we do not desire that it shall be unduly delayed. Consequently, I propose to strike but the word " six," with a view to insert the word " three," and, while it may be four, five, or six months, if we are ready in three months time, we do not desire to unnecessarily delay the operation of the Bill for six months. That is the whole position.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable and learned gentleman only proposes to give State trade marks the currency given them under the States Acts.

Mr ISAACS - That is so. But the honorable member must see that a State trade mark granted to-day will have a currency of fourteen years from to-day. The provisions of the State Trade Marks Act, under which it is granted, will remain operative ki respect to it for that period, amd unless the owner of the trade mark chooses to bring it under this Bill, uniformity will be delayed. I am sure that there is confusion enough at the present time, and merchants in different parts of the Commonwealth will find that the sooner I hey come under the uniform Federal Act the better. I move -

That the word " six," line 2, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " three."

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