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Tuesday, 28 November 1905

Mr FISHER (Wide Bay) - I would point out to the honorable and learned member for Werriwa that, before another Ministerial office can be created, a special Act of Parliament must be passed. When a proposal to that effect is submitted, it will be time enough to deal with this question. My own opinion is that for many years the permanent head of the Customs Department mustcontinue to be the best person to whom the Commissioner can appeal for information upon any matter affecting either trade marks or patents. The honorable and learned member for Werriwa must know that there are many reasons why officers in the various States are frequently removed from the control of one Minister to that of another. I do not know that the system is a good one--

Mr Conroy - That is a matter which must be determined by experience. We have not that experience, and yet we propose to act in opposition to the experience of some of the States.

Mr FISHER - Upon intricate legal questions the Crown Law Officers can always be appealed to. In my opinion all these matters should reach the Minister through the permanent head of the Department of Trade and Customs.

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa). - I would point out to the honorable member for Wide Bay that the experience of New South Wales and Victoria is quite contrary to the. contention which he has put forward. Those States have refused to hand over the administration of their Trade Marks Acts to the Minister whom he thinks is most fitted to take charge of them.

Mr Fisher - Does not the honorable and learned member know that in some of the States the Department of Trade and Customs was under the control of the Treasurer ?

Mr CONROY - Yes, in States where there are only three or four Ministers. Judging by the experience of the two most populous States, we are not selecting the most suitable Minister to administer this Act. My contention is that we should not lay down a hard-and-fast rule placing the administration of the Bill in the hands of one Minister when experience may show that it is more desirable to place it under the direction of another.

Mr. WILSON(Corangamite).- I recognise the force of the Attorney-General's contention that clauses 78s, 78T,and so forth, indicate the desirableness of placing the administration of the Bill under the Department of Trade and Customs, rather than that of the Attorney-General ; but I think that the honorable and learned member for Wannon has shown that it would be well to so amend the clause as to bring it into conformity with section 9 of the Patents Act. If that suggestion be adopted, I shall be prepared to withdraw my amendment. It will then be open to the Government of the day to determine what Minister shall be chargedwith the administration of the Act. Without desiring in any way to reflect on the officer in charge of the Patents Office, for I know that he is a capable man, I think that it would be well to have a lawyer in charge of the Trade Marks Office.

Mr Isaacs - That question should be raised on clause11. The honorable member has agreed that the provisions of subsequent clauses show that the Act ought to be administered by the Minister of Trade and Customs.

Mr WILSON - I hold that it should be open to any Government to transfer the administration of the Act to another Department, if that course were deemed desirable.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 11 (Registrar).

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