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Tuesday, 27 May 1902

Mr BROWN (Canobolas) - As the honorarium to Mr. J. L. Watkins for services in connexionwith the drafting of a Patents Designs and Trades Marks Bill was earned nearly twelve months ago, the Bill should be very nearly finished ; but I understand that the Government do not intend to deal with it this session. I desire, however, to point out the great importance of this legislation to the Commonwealth, and the desirability of dealing with it speedily, not merely to secure uniformity throughout the States, but to encourage the inventive genius of our people, which previous legislation has been in the direction of discouraging. There is a very wide difference between themethods whichobtaininAmericaand those which obtain in other English-speaking communities in this respect, and the matter is of so much importance that honorable members require time to make themselves conversant with it. Therefore, I hope the Bill will be laid before Parliament before the session closes, even if the Government do not go on with it this session. This will give the inventive community and the public generally an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the proposals of the Government, and will enable honorable members to deal with them in an intelligent way.

Mr. DEAKIN(Ballarat - AttorneyGeneral). - The measure to which the honorable memberrefers was drafted by Mr. Watkins, but, when it was referred to the Minister for Trade and Customs, he found serious cause to consider whether the British system, upon which it was mainly based, should not be radically modified. He was obliged, however, to lay aside the consideration of the measure because of the introduction of the Tariff, and it will not be possible to introduce it this session, because it may require to be entirely altered. But the importance of the matter has been fully recognised, and we hope in recess to come to a final determination which will enable the Bill to commend itself to honorable members.

Mr Tudor - Did the gentlemen to whom honoraria are being voted draw pay from the States while they were performing these services for the Commonwealth ?

Mr DEAKIN - That is a matter for the States.

Mr Higgins - On what scale have the allowances been given ?

Mr DEAKIN - The amounts proposed have been submitted as fair under the circumstances.

Proposed vote agreed to.

Department of Home Affairs.

Division 15. - (Administrative staff), £5, 395.

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