Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 27 July 1921

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .- I hope that the Minister in charge of the Bill (Senator- Russell) will not go quite so far as Senator Lynch desires, but that he will see the desirability of acceding to thelatter part of the proposal. I suggest that a new sub-clause be added providing that no evidence relating to the profitsor financial position of any witness shall be disclosed except to the Board, or published without the consent of the person entitled to the non-disclosure. That would eliminate inquiry into any trade secret.

Senator Benny - The clause as it stands is more comprehensive- than the new sub-clause suggested.

Senator ELLIOTT - The clause refers to secret processes, but not to the financial position of airy business, and it might be of great importance that the finances of a business should notbe published.

Senator Russell -The object of the Board is to inquire whether a manufacturer is making excessive profits, and if he is the fact ought, certainly, to be pub- lished The publication of such a fact is the mosteffectivewayofstopping profiteering,thepublicwilldotherest

Senator ELLIOTT - But a man might be absolutely ruined by the disclosure of the financial position of his business.

Senator Russell - The Board will have no object in ruining any man. It is not appointed to inquire and report whether or not a man is in financial difficulties ; the whole conception of the Bill is co-operation to help the manufacturing industries of Australia.

SenatorWilson. - I think it is a queer sort of help.

Senator ELLIOTT - Many of us have doubts on the point.

Senator Russell - If a manufacturer is " deadbroke," the Board will very likely report in favour of increased duties, in order to enable him to earn a decent living.

Senator ELLIOTT - And in order to convince Parliament that higher duties are necessary, the Board may deem it to be its duty to publish all the information it has obtained relating to his financial position. If a manufacturer is willing to have such a disclosure made, then it is all right, but he ought to be the judge.

SenatorReid. - If a manufacturer is making excessive profits, he willn ot agree to the publication of the fact.

Senator ELLIOTT - The same remark might be made in relation to the Arbitration Court. I am quite prepared to support Senator Lynch if he moves an amendment of the kind, relating to secret processes.

Suggest corrections