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Wednesday, 23 October 1912


Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . - Might I, in the absence of an explanation by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, inform Senator Chataway in reply to his inquiry, that clause 22 of this Bill is simply a proposal to re-enact section 25 of our Copyright Act of 1905. On reading the Bill one would be led to believe that it is not so. A reference to the marginal note to the clause would lead to the belief that it is taken from section 10 of 1 and 2 Geo. V.


Senator McGregor - So was the other.


Senator KEATING - Will the honorable senator say that the marginal note to this clause is correct? If he will say that he will say anything.


Senator de Largie - Does the honorable senator say that the Act of Geo. V. does not provide for a Copyright Office?


Senator KEATING - I will say that this clause was not taken from that Act. It is a distinct adoption of section 25 of our Copyright Act of 1905. Honorable senators will find that the marginal references to clauses 23, 24, and 25 are also inaccurate. Instead of referring to the English enactment they should refer to the Australian enactment of 1905.


Senator de Largie - Are they not in the English enactment?


Senator KEATING - No. The honorable senator has only to turn to the schedule of this Bill, which contains the English enactment, to verify my statement. If he will look at section 10 of the English Act, which is attached as a schedule to this Bill, he will find that it reads -

An action in respect of infringement of copyright shall not be commenced after the expiration of three years next after the infringement.

It has no relation to the establishment of a Copyright Office at all. This is the kind of information that is dished out to the Senate. Senator Chataway has asked about the establishment of a Copyright Office, and I agree with the Vice-President of the Executive Council that there is no reason to anticipate increased expenditure in connexion with it. I wish to draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that on page 2 of the Bill we have the beginning of the marginal references, " 1 and 2 Geo. 5," chapter 46. That is the English enactment, which we ,are practically adopting bodily in this Bill. The only modifications that we make are with regard to procedure and remedies. Nobody takes any exception to clause 22 of the Bill. Senator Chataway merely inquired as to the establishment of a Copyright Office, and its probable cost, and the Minister gave what might be termed an evasive answer. He, with his colleagues, has been responsible for the circulation of this Bill Among members of both Houses, with a clause containing this marginal note, " Copyright office, lb., s. 10." One looks to the preceding clause, and finds this marginal note, "Cf. 1 and 2. Geo. 5, s. 9 (2)." To get the corresponding provision to clause 21 of the Bill, we turn to section 10 of the scheduled Act which we are adopting. What an idle performance ! What a want of knowledge ! Senator McGregor laughs. Am I to take his laugh as indicating the empty mind on the subject?


Senator McGregor - You can take it as anything.


Senator KEATING - On turning to the schedule, we find that section 10 of the British Act has no reference whatever to the subject-matter of clause 22 of this Bill. I venture to say that if the Minister chooses to look through the marginal references in the Bill, he will find that some of his officers, have been responsible for the circulation of the greatest amount of misinformation I have ever seen circulated with regard to any Bill submitted to either House of this Parliament.







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