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Thursday, 26 August 1920

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) .- I understand the amendment of the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Parker Moloney) refers to the Postal Department. I have had brought under my notice the cases of business men transferring from one office to another who have been unable to get the instruments transferred. What I desire to impress upon the Postmaster-General (Mr. Wise) is that if we are held up by the rights of any invention, it is time this Parliament passed a patent law to prevent any invention being exploited in Australia unless it is manufactured here. A similar law has been passed in England, and we should not be at the mercy of Trusts and Combines controlling inventions. In the boot trade, for instance, the machines installed are not sold to the manufacturers, but merely rented.

I would like to refer at some length to the Anzac tweed industry, but as I would probably not be in order, I will merely make one allusion to it. The fact remains that the men working in that industry are earning £5 or £6 a week, and are turning out a splendid article. At the present time, the Government are charging too high a price for the tweed. The factory will have nothing to do with Flinderslane. Senator E. D. Millen stated an untruth, and the Department caused the Assistant Minister for Defence (Sir Granville Ryrie) to submit a report which was a fake. The man who established the factory was squeezed out by Senator E. D. Millen. I am alluding to Sergeant Sinclair, and I believe that the men stopped work for two days as a protest against his treatment. The Anzac tweed is good enough for any man on God's earth to wear, and the only reason that there are not hundreds of mem earning from £5 to £6 per week in the handweaving industry is the action taken by Senator E. D. Millen on account of Flinderslane. I am told that the men have declared that they will not allow a single yard of cloth to go into a Flinders-lane warehouse. Why should these octopuses in the "Lane" be allowed to rob the community right and left? Honorable members have only to read in the Hansard of the Victorian Parliament what is occurring. The Flinders-lane interests are so strong that the Premier of Victoria is afraid to prosecute.

One honorable member referred to the wireless plant in Sydney, purchased from the late Father Shaw. With that plant the Government could manufacture nearly everything required for telephones. There is no great difficulty in the making of a telephone.

Mr Laird Smith - There is. They cannot be made in Australia.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - They were made here twenty-five years ago by a man who is in business in Elizabeth-street to-day. We should start the local industry at once, and, if the patent rights interfere with us, let us pass a law that no patent will be recognised in Australia unless the patentee manufactures locally.

Mr West - There are only German patents, and they were rendered invalid during the war.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - The inventors, on behalf of the trust, hold Australia in their grip.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - I wish to heaven we could get telephones.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Then adopt my suggestion. If it is the patent rights that are holding us up, imitate the legislation passed in the Mother Country!' Great Britain will not recognise the patent of any continental invention which is not manufactured in the United Kingdom.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - I was under the impression that a provision, to that effect was inserted in the Patents Act. I know that the matter was discussed in the House.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - If there is not such a provision, in the Act, I shall claim the Treasurer's assistance when the opportunity arises for making the necessary amendments.

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