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Tuesday, 28 November 1905


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think that the clause should be negatived, because, in my opinion, the Minister of Trade and Customs is not the best Minister to intrust with the administration of this measure. I am not now referring to the qualifications of the present occupant of the office.


Mr Watson - The Patents Office is under the Minister of Trade and Customs.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not think either the Patents Office or the Trade Marks Office should be under that Minister.


Mr Watson - Do not trade marks concern trade?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Very remotely. I think that if the measure must be administered by some particular Minister, it should be placed under the AttorneyGeneral ; but it would be still better to put it into the hands of the Crown Solicitor.


Mr Isaacs - Would the honorable member make the Crown Solicitor independent of Ministers?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why not? A similar thing has been done in regard to other matters.


Mr Higgins - The Attorney-General has to act judicially under the Bill as it stands.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Crown Solicitor could administer the measure if he were empowered to do so; but if a responsible Minister is deemed* necessary, I do not think that the task should be given to the Minister of Trade and Customs, who has already almost more work to do than any of his colleagues. Besides, the administration of this measure would raise highly technical questions, very different from those which are raised in connexion with the ordinary business of the Department of Trade and Customs, and, therefore, the measure, if it must be allotted to any one Minister, should be given to the Attorney-General. I think, however, that it would be better to leave it to each Administration to say what Minister should administer the measure.


Mr Hutchison - Would the honorable member hand over the Patents Office to the Attorney-General ?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think that the Patents Office would be better administered by the Attorney-General than by the Minister of Trade and Customs, because of the highly technical questions involved in its administration - questions very different from those arising in connexion with the importation or exportation of goods. It is. however, common in many of the States to allow Administrations to determine what Ministers shall administer particular Acts, and I would leave this measure to be dealt with in that way. Why should a layman like the present Minister of Trade and Customs be preferred for the administration of this measure to lawyers like the AttorneyGeneral or the Minister of Home Affairs ?


Mr Hutchison - He will always be able to get the advice of the AttorneyGeneral.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That merely draws out the red-tape procedure, and makes it more difficult to do justice.


Mr Fisher - Every Department has to seek advice from the Attorney-General.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Certainly ; but in the administration of this measure the questions arising will bealmost exclusively such as could be dealt with only by the law officers of the Crown. It is only in an emergency that the Ministers of other Departments consult the law officers of the Crown ; but in the administration of this measure constant advice would be required on matters of a purely technical and legal nature. Therefore, I would leave it to each Administration to determine which Minister would most satisfactorily - because most efficiently and with most knowledge - administer the measure.







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