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Wednesday, 10 April 1957

Mr CASEY - I have personally given a great deal of thought to whether it would be possible, and would do more good than harm, to initiate some kind of an incentive system under which adequate financial rewards could be paid to individuals who made discoveries that brought money to the Commonwealth or financial advantage to the people of Australia. In the search for an incentive system, I have corresponded with people holding positions similar to mine in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada. I think it can be said that so far no country has found it possible to introduce an incentive system to do the thing that the honorable gentleman - quite rightly, if I may say so - seeks to have done. It would be easy enough to reward persons who, individually, made discoveries or initiated patents which brought financial gain to the Australian Government, but discoveries and patents of that type cover only a relatively small part of the total activities of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Equally adequate rewards would have to be paid to men who found cures or deterrents for, say. stock diseases, or who discovered methods of coping with noxious weeds, the financial results of which it would be impossible to gauge. There is also the fact, as 1 have discovered to my cost, that very few inventions, discoveries or successful pieces of research can be attributed to one individual. Usually teams from not one but two or more divisions of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization are concerned with the various aspects of the working out of a final result. I am afraid that I am back on my haunches, if I may put it in that way. I do not see any way that would be fair all round to do what the honorable gentleman seeks to have done, and which I myself would very much like to have done, if it were possible. I believe that any scheme that could be introduced - and you could mock up ascheme easily enough - would result in hardships and hard feelings by reason of people not being included who possibly might well expect to be included in some other award that is being made. I appreciate the honorable gentleman's question, and ] wish we could find a way of doing what he suggests.

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