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Wednesday, 23 September 1936

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - The vote to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research rises year by year.

Senator HARDY - That is so, but the only reason for that is that this Government realize* the value of the work that the council does. But can we assume that the vote would increase if there were a change of government, involving, possibly, a change of policy?

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - Certainly, if a depression did not intervene.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - We formerly had a trust fund for the Coun cil for Scientific and Industrial Research.

Senator HARDY - Yes, but there is need for something more than that. Senator Collings said that it was wrong for a Government department to conduct research and then allow the fruits thereof to be garnered by private enterprise. If the honorable senator follows that argument out to its logical conclusion he must oppose the existence of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, for the results of all of its research are made available to private enterprise. There is need to investigate whether it is possible to bring those engaged in private enterprises that are assisted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research into a contributory scheme. Why should it be wholly .the function of the Government to provide the funds for scientific and industrial research? It is a national work, and in that respect it bears some resemblance to a national insurance scheme, which would be based upon a system of compulsory contributions from the governments and the people who would benefit.

Senator Payne - It would be difficult to do as the honorable senator suggests.

Senator HARDY - That may be so. but this council is doing important work for private enterprise .and private enterprise should bc called upon to make some contribution towards it. My objection to the continuance of the present system of financing the council is that if a change of government resulted in a change of policy towards the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, many of the long-range investigations now in process might have to he discontinued because of lack of funds. We must guard against that contingency.

Senator Foll - It is impossible to guard against what a future government may do.

Senator HARDY - But it is possible to put the finances of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research on such a basis that, irrespective of changes of government, funds would be available for the continuance of its investigations.

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