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Wednesday, 28 March 1984
Page: 817

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(5.13) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows-

The purpose of this Bill is to regulate the use of the Advance Australia logo.

On 13 October 1983 the Government announced its decision to introduce legislation so as to ensure, with effect from that date, that the logo is used only in accordance with the objectives of the Advance Australia campaign.

The ultimate aim of that campaign is to stimulate demand for Australian goods and services.

Consequently the unauthorised use of the logo and look-alike symbols is of considerable concern to the Government as it directly threatens to undermine the campaign and the financial viability of the Advance Australia company.

Before I mention the main provisions in this Bill I will take a few moments to outline the background to Advance Australia.

The Advance Australia campaign was launched in 1979 on the recommendation of the Australian Manufacturing Council, an advisory body to the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

From 1979 to 1981, the campaign was managed by the Department of Industry and Commerce through the Project Australia Committee which included senior business executives, trade union officials and the secretary of the Department of Industry and Commerce.

Because of growth in private sector support and interest, a non-profit, public interest company, Advance Australia, was established in mid-1981 to manage the on-going campaign. The Project Australia Committee became the board of the new company.

In the period 1979 to 1983 the Government provided $5.14m to the campaign.

A system of licensing arrangements involving the franchise of the Advance Australia logo was also developed to raise revenue for the campaign.

These arrangements proved highly successful with over 700 companies actively participating and over $3m in revenue being raised through licensing since 1979. In 1982-83 $1.75m was raised from the licences.

Because of this success, the Government ceased its contribution to the campaign on 30 June 1983 and the Advance Australia company is now a self funding, private sector project.

The Advance Australia campaign has been remarkably well received by the Australian community, achieving very high levels of public awareness and acceptance.

It is estimated that the logo now appears in advertising and marketing activities involving more than $2 billion of Australian products.

The challenge now facing the company is to maintain and build upon its success.

However its financial viability and on-going success are under threat because of the unauthorised use of the logo and a variety of look-alike symbols by some Australian and overseas companies.

Furthermore the Government believes that the use of the logo and look-alike symbols on imported goods is misleading as consumers may be misled that the goods are manufactured in Australia.

The unauthorised use of the logo is thus not only threatening the validity of licences issued by Advance Australia but is damaging the interests of existing licence holders.

I now turn to the major provisions of the Bill.

Clauses 6 to 8 vest ownership of the copyright of the logo in the Advance Australia company, make the Advance Australia company owner of the design of the logo and provide for the laws applicable to the ownership of personal property to apply also to ownership of the design of the logo.

These provisions will allow the company to seek protection against unauthorised use of the design of the logo directly through the courts without the need for Commonwealth involvement.

Generally speaking, the provisions of clause 11 provide for a prohibition on both the importation of articles bearing the logo and the production or sale in Australia, without licence, of articles which bear the logo. An action for infringement of the ownership of the design can be initiated by either Advance Australia or by a licence holder whose interests have been affected by the infringement. If these rights are infringed the courts may grant damages or a sum equal to the amount gained by unauthorised use.

Safeguard provisions have been incorporated into the Bill to protect the Commonwealth's interest and investment in the campaign.

Clause 10 makes provision for the ownership of the logo to revert to the Commonwealth in the event of the Company winding up or the Minister being satisfied that it is no longer in the public interest for the company to own the logo.

The Minister is also empowered by clause 17 to give directions to the company in connection with the exercise of its powers in relation to the copyright and design of the logo.

The company is also required by clause 18 to provide the Minister with an annual report detailing licences issued, amounts received and the application of those funds.

The Government believes that it has a responsibility to protect the Australian firms which have, in good faith, actively supported the Advance Australia campaign and taken out product licences with the Advance Australia company to use the logo in their advertising and marketing.

This legislation is therefore necessary to protect the logo and to ensure that the Advance Australia campaign will continue its success with the company having a sound basis for its future operations.

The provisions of this Bill do not have any financial implications. I mentioned earlier that the Commonwealth ceased its financial contribution to the campaign on 30 June 1983. Advance Australia is now a self-funding, private sector project . I commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Kilgariff) adjourned.