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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr MORGAN (Reid) (1:50 AM) .The admission of the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) that the Director-General stated before the Joint Committee on Broadcasting that a large number of remedies- which are now advertised over the air are, in his opinion, rubbish, discloses the attitude that he will adopt when dealing with this matter. Already in his eyes such remedies are condemned. Do honorable members expect that he will approve the advertisements for many remedies which are now advertised and which have been accepted by the public for many years? Sufficient machinery already exists in the health departments of the States for the purpose of analysing the ingredients of patent medicines, so that no difficulty need arise in that respect. As most of the States compel the purveyors of patent medicines to supply the formulas of their nostrums, that information is already in their possession. The Director-General has in his department the means to enable him to make suitable - recommendations to the Minister.

It is all very well for the honorable member for Melbourne to state that some patent medicines - he mentioned Aspros - though accepted by the public for years, are rubbish. His attitude is intolerant. Because the honorable member believes that certain patent medicines are rubbish apparently nobody will be allowed to advertise them. If these restrictions bc imposed, many people will consult medical practitioners and, for the payment of a fee of half a guinea, may be given a prescription closely resembling the formula of a patent medicine. The chemist will then charge them 5s. for dispensing the prescription. I am dissatisfied with the clause in its present form.

Mr. BEASLEY(West Sydney- Minister for Supply and Development) [1.52 a.m. |. - Obviously the Joint Committee on Broadcasting devoted a good deal ot attention to this clause, and, from the discussion that has taken place, honorable members appear to agree that steps should be taken to prevent the broadcasting of advertisements for quack remedies, which are calculated to mislead the public. Other honorable members consider that many advertisements would be prejudiced if the proposed text had to be submitted to the British Medical Association for approval. Perhaps well-known remedies would thereby be withheld from the public. In my opinion, the committee must find a middle course. Some honorable members have complained that if the text of each advertisement must be forwarded to the Director-General of Health, considerable delay will occur before he approves or rejects it, and that an extensive organization, out of all proportion to the value of the proposed system, will have to be created. Is it a practical proposition for the Minister to prescribe, from the date on which this legislation will be proclaimed, such potent medicines as are now accepted by the public as being beneficial to them? If that be a practicable proposition, it will meet the objections of honorable members, because the British' Medical Association will not be invited to approve or reject the text of an advertisement, and the DirectorGeneral will be relieved of the obligation to scrutinize it.

Sir Frederick Stewart - It would place him in the position of giving his benediction to a prescribed list of medicines

Mr BEASLEY - That is so. The contention of the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) contains some merit. He asked whether it would be necessary to establish a listening post in order to ascertain whether quack remedies are being advertised.

Mr Rosevear - There are nearly 100 commercial broadcasting stations.

Sir Frederick Stewart - 'And there are 6,000 doctors in Australia, every ona of whom would be a listening post.

Mr BEASLEY - Does the honorable member contend that the extensive range of patent medicines render them incapable of being prescribed ?

Sir Frederick Stewart - It would be difficult.

Mr BEASLEY - Honorable members must ask themselves whether it is worth while, in the interests of the health of the public, to take these precautions. Whatever we do some inconvenience will be caused. I prefer to amend the clause in order to provide for the recognition of certain patent medicines. That will compel the purveyors of new patent medicines to submit them for analysis.

Mr Morgan - That will satisfy me.

Amendment- by leave - withdrawn.

Amendment (by Mr. Beasley) agreed to -

That, in sub-clause (4.), before the word "An" the following words be inserted: - " Except as prescribed,".

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 70 agreed to.

Clause 71-

The licensee of a. commercial broadcasting station shall not relay or broadcast any part of the programme of another broadcasting station, whether situated in Australia or elsewhere, without the consent of the owner or licensee of the originating station and the approval of the Minister.

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