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Wednesday, 14 October 1964

Senator GORTON (Victoria) (Minister for Works) .^-! would like to reply before these matters get too numerous. Senator McKellar raised a question as to where money was provided in the Estimates for the upkeep of the Supreme Court. It can be found at the top of page 133 of the Estimates under the Department of the Interior in the top lot of Estimates. Senator McClelland raised a question, if I understand it correctly - and I think I do - concerning an organisation or a group of people who want to have the right to service television sets in the hands of the public restricted to them. They do not want to allow anybody except members of that group to go and repair sets. I am not prepared to express either my own view or the Government's view as to whether that would be a proper course to pursue. The Attorney-General's Department at one stage did have some complaints that some people without proper competence were doing damage to sets. Apparently, that is not now happening. It might well be that the proposal mentioned by the honorable senator would, in itself, be a restrictive trade practice.

On the question of the cost of conferences between Attorneys-General of the various States, this appears under the AttorneyGeneral's Department at Division No. 115, sub-division 2, item 01, "Travelling and subsistence - £40,300". Regarding the matter raised by Senator McClelland before as to whether casual employees in the Commonwealth Court Reporting Branch should be eligible for long service leave, I think, perhaps, he may be speaking about an individual case instead of a general case, or possibly there is some other misunderstanding somewhere along the way. I am informed by the Attorney-General's Department that it told the Treasury, which is the Department which administers the Commonwealth Employees' Furlough Act, that casual reporters employed in the Commonwealth Court Reporting Branch should be regarded as employees within the meaning of that Act. So that is a repetition of the departmental view 1. gave the honorable senator before.

The matters raised by Senator Cohen were in regard to the law for designs and patents. There again, designs appear to be so inexplicably intermingled with copyright that legislation for both would virtually have to be brought down together. There seems to be no chance of bringing down a law for copyright that does not apply to designs nor to bring down a law for designs that does not apply to copyrights.

Senator Cohen - Is there a separate committee?

Senator GORTON - I do not think there is a separate committee but the AttorneyGeneral's Department is considering the matter. The question of the possible alteration of extradition laws, as suggested by the Foreign Affairs Committee, is one that is under active consideration. Referring to the matter of law reform in the Australian Capital Territory, the Department of the Interior, which acts in the role of a State government for the Australian Capital Ter ritory, is getting out a scheme for law reform. When it is ready the Department will discuss the implementation of the scheme with the Attorney-General's Department. I will draw the attention of the Attorney-General to the honorable senator's suggestion about the telephone regulations being made more easily readable. There is a regular review going on of these publications. There are myriad numbers of them but I will draw the attention of the Attorney-General to that particular one.

Regarding the matter of appeals to the Privy Council, I found the remarks both of Senator Cohen and of Senator Wright extremely interesting. Of course, it is not a matter which directly appears in the estimates of the Attorney-General's Department and it is not a matter which the AttorneyGeneral himself could decide. Obviously, it is a matter for decision by the Government. It is also a matter on which I do not propose to express any opinion, except to tell both honorable senators that their remarks will be drawn to the attention of the Attorney-General, if not by his officers who are present, then by myself.

I do not feel competent to express a legal view at all on the matters that have been raised. I have been informed that there arc some complexities and complications in this matter because under the Constitution there are State rights for individuals to appeal direct from a State court to the Privy Council, and no matter what we did that would still carry on. But these are legal complexities into which I do not want to enter at the moment. I will leave them to the members of the legal fraternity, if that is the correct word, to discuss amongst themselves.

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