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Wednesday, 21 July 1920

Mr RILEY (South Sydney) .- As a Labour man, I welcome the introduction of the Bill. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr." Tudor) pointed out directions in which the Bureau has been already at work. Those attached to it have been working in an honorary capacity for more than four years,' and have been carrying on in conjunction with the various States, which are anxious for the establishment of the Bureau upon a sound basis, so that finality can be arrived at in regard to certain matters which have for some time claimed attention. One important thing, which the Bureau has been able to achieve is in regard to the standardization of iron and steel.' In that direction alone its establishment has been more than justified.

Mr Watkins - There is another side to that argument.

Mr RILEY - The honorable member should know that if a man refuses to believe good of a thing there is no argument that will shake his views. The whole trend' of civilization to-day is to link up science more and more closely with industry, and the outcome has always been to lighten the burden' of the worker. I have seen the effect of that during my own life-time in relation to the building industry, with which I have been concerned. The same illustration applies, for example, to boot manufacture. Machinery has completely revolutionized the boot -industry, and one man to-day turns out as much work as did twenty formerly.

Mr ROBERT COOK (INDI, VICTORIA) - Is science responsible for the price being double what it used to be?

Mr RILEY - That is where the profiteer comes in j the fault is ours, and cannot be laid at the door of science. We have seen what a wonderful difference in the outlook of a woman's life the sewing machine has made. Throughout the industrial world science has proved an enormous factor for progress. The old sailing ships have disappeared ; science has revolutionized sea-going traffic.

Mr Richard Foster - If you are going to make the industrial picture complete, you must admit that the bricklayer to-day handles 400 bricks where he used to lay 1,000.

Mr RILEY - As the honorable member knows, that has nothing to do with science. I invite his attention, rather, to the linking up of science with agriculture. Science has come to the aid of the farmer, and to-day he can carry on ever so much more cheaply and more easily than in the days when there was only the crudest machinery to help him. Despite all the great inventions and the tremendous advance of the past few years,' we are still but touching the fringe of scientific exploitation. This Government should not hesitate to spend money in the encouragement of scientific research. At the present time the Bureau is studying the economic application of a 'by-product of molasses to lie creation of a motive spirit. Activities along this particular line have practically come to a head, but the authorities are hampered by the lack of money in placing the discovery on the market. An attitude of ridicule or indifference in respect to scientific research will not help the world along the path of progress. If Australia is to take her place among the leading nations she must encourage the linking up of science with our young industries. Here, for once, we can copy Germany. The German nation has taken a pride in encouraging scientific research and discovery.

I welcome the introduction of this Bill. It is a subject which should be above party. With respect to detail, I would prefer to see the appointment of three directors rather than one. The selection of one man might mean that we would secure an excellent scientist in relation to one particular interest ; but there are hundreds of branches of scientific activity, and we want to make the directorate as broad as possible. It would be wiser to appoint three men of an allround high standard. However, if tha Government deem it wise to choose one director, I shall not oppose it. I hope that, as an outcome of this legislation, a Board will be established which will call to its aid the best men in every State, thus creating one great and important body for the whole of Australia.

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