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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr RIORDAN (Kennedy) (1:43 AM) . - The intention of the committee in making its recommendation regarding patent medicines was to keep off the air advertisements of quack remedies. It was not intended to place any restriction upon the advertisement of reputable patent medicines. Honorable members will surely agree that it is desirable to protect the public against quacks who advertise that their medicines are able to cure diseases which are known to be incurable, and it was believed that the Director-General of Health was the proper person to control such matters. The joint committee has sufficient faith in his views to reserve to him the right to make recommendations, and approve or reject the text of proposed advertisements. The provision relating to the submission of proposed advertising matter to the Director-General for his approval in writing is necessary. The amendment which the honorable member for Reid has submitted is a departure from the intention of the joint committee. Mention has been made of the fact that the text of reputable remedies will have to be submitted to the Director-General. That is true; but the text will need to be submitted only once.

Mr Morgan - The text will have to be approved by the Director-General.

Mr RIORDAN - Once it is approved, the advertiser and the commercial broadcasting station will experience no difficulty. If the clause be agreed to, the purveyors of quack remedies will know that the Director-General will not approve the text of their advertisements. Legislation passed by the Parliament of Queensland prevents the advertising of cures for certain complaints, and a proposal was made that diseases for which remedies should not be advertised should be included in this bill. In my opinion, that should be done by regulation. Parliament should not unnecessarily overload the bill. Probably the commercial broadcasting stations will take exception to the clause in its present form, because it will compel them, before they may enter into a contract for the advertising of a cure, to submit the text of the proposed advertisement 'to the Director-General, and that may cause some delay. But the Director-General will lay down a policy, and only a short period will elapse before the broadcasting stations will become thoroughly conversant with his conception of what shall and what shall not be advertised. He will lose no time in making known his views upon the matter. The evidence that he gave before the joint committee indicated that he holds definite views upon this subject. I invite the Minister to accept the proposal of the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) to insert at the commencement of sub-clause 4 the words " except as may be prescribed ". If experience shows that difficulties have been created by this provision, they may be overcome by regulations.

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