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Tuesday, 16 September 1958
Page: 1248

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) ,- I take the unusual -course of speaking. on the third .reading of -the bill to point out .the extraordinary delay .there .has been in implementing a reform of this .act .and .of .the Commonwealth's other Jaws concerning industrial property. A reform of the law was promised in the Governor-General's Speech at the opening of the Parliament on 4th August, 1954. On that occasion the Governor-General said that the .Government proposed to review the law concerning trade marks, designs, copyright and bankruptcy. The first fruits of that review is in the Trade Marks Act ;1955 which was gazetted to come into operation only on the 1st August, i 958. Already, * it is being amended. In !80 answer which :I received from the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), representing the Attorney-General (Senator O'sullivan), on 12th August, 1-958, it appeared that no step's had yet been 'finalized and few had yet been -taken to carry out the review of the 'other three branches of'the laws relating to industrial property. The committee reviewing bankruptcy law has been sitting under the -chairmanship of the federal judge in : bankruptcy, but the committee has not yet reached a stage when it can 'say when its. report will be presented to the Attorney-General. A committee is only now about to,be appointed, I was told by the Attorney-General, to review copyright law and; advise the Government on what amendment should be :made. I was .told that the law relating to. designs would be reviewed -after :the.copyright law has been reviewed.

In the four years which "have elapsed, only one review has ' been completed. I would appreciate information as to why it took so long for the 1955 Trade Marks Act to be gazetted, why it came into operation only last month and why it has taken and is taking so long to have the cognate acts reviewed. If we are ever to become an important industrial country, we must encourage the inventiveness of our citizens and safeguard the rights of those -who have devoted time and resources .to the development of new ideas. -I would think it is a serious reflection on this Government that it -has taken so long to bring Australian laws relating to industrial property up -to world standard even in such small matters as that with which this bill is concerned.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Billhead a third time.

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