Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 15 August 1912

Senator CHATAWAY (Queensland) - I do not think that the Minister has really followed my point. He says that it is in the interests of a manufacturer that we should make it possible for his secret methods of manufacture to be exposed.

Senator McGregor - No.

Senator CHATAWAY - If the Minister does not mean that, I do not know what he does mean.

Senator McGregor - Be not exposed.

Senator CHATAWAY - The Minister says that the secret process of manufacture need not be exposed. But I would point out that technical or chemical methods are employed which are not covered by the expression " secret process." If the Minister will give me a positive assurance that the term includes a list of figures, showing a record of certain observations and examinations, and so forth, there is no necessity to make the amendment I have proposed.

Senator McGregor - It includes everything which is of a confidential or secret character in the process of manufacture.

Senator CHATAWAY - My honorable friend makes that remark, but it is hard to take him seriously. I think that it was only yesterday that he explained that be did' not want one part of the Bill to be in harmony with another part. His statement that a secret process includes certain records of chemical observations is one which I believe would not be borne out before a Royal Commission intrusted with the powers contained in this measure.

Senator Needham - Is that not tending to a process?

Senator CHATAWAY - There is nothing in this provision about tending to a process ; it refers to " any secret process of manufacture." I ask that a witness shall not be called upon to disclose not merely a " secret process of manufacture," but also the secret records of chemical observations in connexion with the manufacture.

Senator McGregor - That is all right; they are all provided for.

Senator CHATAWAY - Unfortunately, if the matter goes before a Royal Commission, and the honorable senator is quoted, a Royal Commissioner will say Very much as the honorable senator said yesterday about the Leader of the Opposition, "Who is Senator McGregor, any way?" We shall get exactly the same retort there, and the Commission will insist upon bringing out what are probably the mainsprings of a man's business - one of the things from which he is getting an extra profit - namely, from carefully compiled chemical records. There is no business in which chemical observation goes further than it does in the tanning business. It plays a large part, too, in half-a-dozen other businesses. I know that it does in a raw sugar mill. It will be absolutely unfair to empower a Commission to demand from persons, not the prices which they charge or the wages which they pay, but the inmost secrets which are supposed to be protected from public observation, and give them out to the public for their competitors to deal with. There is nothing here to prevent a Commission from breaking even such an Act as the Patents Act. A man, for instance, has a secret calculating machine.

Senator Pearce - Any person can go and see a patent on paying the fee.

Senator CHATAWAY - That may be perfectly true. I think that the Government will show their fairness if they adopt my amendment so as to make it quite clear that the phrase " secret process of manufacture" includes the results or records of technical or chemical control of manufacture.

Suggest corrections