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Wednesday, 3 June 1942


Mr MENZIES (Kooyong) (1:25 AM) . - The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) has convinced me that the amendment of the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan) is a good one. He has referred to what seems to be a very sensible provision in the Queensland law. In effect, in that State, and apparently in one or two other States, it has been provided that alleged medicines claiming to cure certain diseases are not to be advertised; I presume generally, not only over wireless stations, but also in newspapers. That is a legitimate measure to protect the health of the community. The amendment of the honorable member for Reid is this -

The Minister, upon the recommendation of the Director-General of Health, may prohibit any advertisement relating to any medicine.

I suggest to him that he might add the words " or class of medicine ". Then the Minister, having before him a recommendation of the Director-General of Health, could prohibit the advertisement of classes of medicine in the exact terms of the Queensland law. The broadcasting stations would then know where they stood; they would know that certain classes of medicine were excluded from advertisements. The clause as it stands appears to be most cumbersome. I emphasize that the text of every advertisement relating to medicine proposed to be advertised must be submitted for this censorship. I cannot see how people would be able to conduct their businesses satisfactorily under such conditions. The real object, I believe, is to confer on the Minister - who, no doubt, would consult his colleague, the Minister for Health, and would be bound under the terms of the amendment to take the recommendation of the Director-General of Health - the right to say that medicines of a certain description are not to be advertised over the air. That would conclude the matter. Medicines which did not fall within that category could be advertised over the air. There would then be no point in submitting the text of the advertisements for censorship, because that would be merely a literary task.


Mr Beasley - Do all advertisements relate to medicine in a direct way, or is the object of some of the talks more to encourage people to undergo certain forms of examination?


Mr MENZIES - The clause as it stands says, " An advertisement relating to any medicine ". It is confined to the physical substance - the medicine. Medicine is not defined. I do not know how far it goes, but it is certainly confined to the physical substance that is bought in the bottle or the jar. The advertisement relating to any medicine is not to be broadcast unless the text of the proposed advertising matter has been approved. It would be more to the point not to worry about examination of the text of an advertisement, but to concentrate upon what is being advertised. There should be power in the Minister to say that one is not to advertise either the particular medicine which, it is believed, is unsafe or damaging, or certain classes of medicine which are defined by reference to the fact that they claim, for example, to cure cancer. If the honorable member for Reid adds the words " or class of medicine ", we shall have a workable and satisfactory rule. I am told by one of my colleagues that clause 100 deals with health talks. That confirms that this clause relates to the physical substance.


Mr Morgan - I accept the suggestion of the right honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Menzies), and am grateful to him for having made it.







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