Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 27 July 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I entirely agree with the Minister that the clause should be accepted as it stands. I fear that Senator Elliott has, to some extent, misconstrued the meaning of the provision, which is really intended to protect the manufacturer from being compelled by the Board, under any circumstances, to disclose any facts relating to his secret processes, if the disclosure may be inimical to him. It will be remembered that within the last three or four years, in spite of parliamentary enactments, Mr. Knox, the manager of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, successfully defied the Inter-State Commission, and refused to disclose secret processes, which had cost much money and research to discover, onthe ground that the disclosure would seriously prejudice his company. I again- point out that this Bill is connected with the Tariff and all matters appertaining thereto ; and witnesses, I take it, will be called for the purpose of recommending either a raising or a lowering of the duties. If a witness is an applicant for higher duties he will, of course, be willing to give the fullest possible information in support of his case ; and if he be called by the Board, with a view to showing that he is extracting too much profit from the community, and he refuses to give evidence, that refusal will, more than anything else, be likely to prejudice him. I think that the clause should be carried in its entirety as a very proper one in a Bill of this sort, in viewof all the surrounding circumstances. What would bo the good of a Board asking a manufacturer how he gets the glossy sheen on his hats or how he gets the beautiful colour on his biscuits, and so makes them that they retain their freshness over months; or whatrecipe he uses in making his beautiful marmalade? These are the secret processes, I take it, contemplated in the Bill.

Suggest corrections