4th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Honorary Minister, without notice, the following question : -
Is the Government aware that during the period from the 1st July,1911, to the 30th June, 1912, in the Melbourne police district fourteen old-age pensioners were found dead ; eleven were found to be utterly destitute, and twenty-one inquests were held at the Melbourne City Morgue on old-age pensioners?
– I am not aware, and I do not think the Government is aware, of anything of the kind, but if any information is required by the honorable senator, he should give notice of a question or a motion for a return.
– I shall give notice of a question.
– The honorable senator only asked me if I was aware of certain things.
– I only received the information this morning.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are -
Townsville thought it might be chickenpox, and that therefore it should go on for further opinion.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to amend the Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act 1906-10.
Bill presented and read a first time.
Bill read a third time.
Bill read a third time.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That the decision of the Postal authorities to charge late fees on correspondence posted at railway stations, as printed on page 3 of the Monthly Supplement to the Postal Guide, No. 3, July, 1912, be not proceeded with; but that the practice of allowing such correspondence to be posted, hitherto existing in Victoria, without extra charge, be continued.
I understand, sir, that this motion is being taken as formal business, and that, therefore, I cannot discuss it.
– May I ask you, sir, a question for my guidance, and that of the
Senate? I understand that this business has been passed as formal.
– That was an error.
– I believe that an error has been made on each side of the Chamber, and that the general desire is that an opportunity should be afforded to discuss the motion. Is it possible, sir, in these circumstances, to get an opportunity?
– Let us have a vote on the question.
– I feel quite certain that there is a way out of the difficulty.
-On a point of order, sir, is any discussion allowable on the motion ?
– Order ! Senator Millen is not discussing the motion, but asking the Chair a question regarding procedure.
– In view of the general desire to discuss this matter, sir, can you suggest a way by which the mistake into which the Senate has fallen can be remedied ?
– In the first place, sir, an error was made in permitting the motion to go as formal business. I hope that a way will be found for allowing a discussion to take place. If the motion is put to a vote this morning, the Government and their supporters will have to vote against it, and, therefore, honorable senators will not have that opportunity which Senator McColl desires that they should have.
– I object to any withdrawal of the motion. There is a proper course to be pursued. As I came past the Ministerial table I told the Minister that this motion ought not to be allowed to go as formal business. It was allowed to go as formal business, and, therefore, I object to a withdrawal. The proper course is to take a vote, and I intend to have a division.
– Under the Standing Orders, the Chair has no power to deal with this matter. Standing order 69 says -
Before the Senate proceeds to the Notices of Motion or Orders of the Day, the President shall inquire in respect to each motion of which notice has been given for the day, and each Order of the Day for the third reading of a Bill, whether there is any objection to its being taken as a formal motion or order ; and if no objection is taken by any senator, the motion or order shall be deemed to be a formal motion or order.
– In regard to the point raised by Senator Millen, sir, I am very desirous that this motion should be discussed.
– I object to any discussion on the motion now. The honorable senator said “ formal “ when the motion was called on.
– The standing order is very clear. This motion was agreed to be taken as formal business, and it has to be put from the chair without discussion.
– May I make a suggestion, sir, which I think will get over the difficulty ? If the motion be negatived now, Senator McColl could give notice to rescind the resolution.
– No; it could not be brought up again this session.
– I think that, under the Standing Orders, Senator McColl could bring the matter up on a motion for adjournment, or on a motion to rescind the decision of the Senate.
– I wish to point out to you, sir, that under the Standing Orders a matter which has been decided in one session cannot be brought up again during that session.
– A motion to rescind a resolution can be moved.
– Senator McColl called “ formal “ to the motion. I was astonished, and said under my breath to the Minister as I came past the table that the motion should not be allowed to go as formal. As it has been allowed to go as formal, there is only one remedy, and that is to take a vote.
– Order ! I have read the motion, and the question must now be put.
Question resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator McColl) agreed to -
That a return be laid on the table of the
Senate, showing -
Clerical work, design, and supervision.
Bricks and brickwork.
Stone and stonework.
Timber and woodwork.
Foundations, including concrete?
Debate resumed from 25th July (vide page 1261) on motion by Senator Findley -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– When this debate was adjourned last evening, we were considering the question of quarantine from a public health stand-point. I was pointing out that quarantine is one of those obligations imposed on every civilized country which wants to be as free as it is possible for science to make it from diseases, especially those which may be brought by shipping or other means of communication from other countries. Quite a number of considerations must be examined before we can decide upon a system of quarantine. Because we find that, although quarantine is a science with which geography and climate have a great deal to do, a quarantine law suitable to one country may be quite unnecessary and unsuitable to another country. The reason is that the people of some countries appear to be immune from certain diseases, such as cholera and plague, which may be great scourges in other lands. The diseases which I have enumerated are extremely dangerous ones to us, but in Eastern Asia they are not considered to be of much importance. Indeed, little or no precautions are taken to prevent them from entering eastern ports. That seems rather strange, but it is a notorious fact to those who have looked into the quarantine laws of the countries to which I allude. In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, we find that diseases such as measles, scarlet fever, and so on are considered comparatively harmless, and are not quarantinable. They are not considered to be sufficiently serious to be so treated. Consequently no precaution is taken to prevent their introduction by means of shipping from abroad. But there are other countries where those diseases are quarantinable. In Fiji, measles and scarlet fever are considered very serious, because they have been a great scourge to the Fijians. All those variations have to be taken into account in establishing our quarantine laws. We have to suit the circumstances of the country in which we live; and to consider the dangers arising from countries doing business with Australia, especially those of our nearest neighbours. Remembering these things, we must say that the Government are to be lauded for having sent their chief medical officer round the world to find out the very latest information regarding quarantine research and scientific management, so that all improvements may be adapted to the requirements of Australia. Dr. Norris has returned, and I understand that the present measure is the outcome of his investigations. I have no doubt that it will be speedily transferred to the statutebook. It is no news to us that improvements are required. We recognise the importance of quarantine, not only in regard to human diseases, but also as to stock and plants. Great precautions, for instance, have been taken to prevent the spread of disease in the fruit industry. In eastern Australia, codlin moth is such a common pest that some of the States apparently look upon it as almost ineradicable. In Western Australia, codlin moth is practically unknown. The people there have taken strong precautions to prevent diseased fruit being imported. At the present time Australia is free from small-pox and plague, although we have been visited by both diseases. There are few countries that are so free from them as Australia is. Considering the enormous area of Australia, the great extent of our coastline, and the large number of ports in comparison with our population, it is inevitable that the cost of quarantine stations and of keeping them properly equipped with the lastest fumigating apparatus-
– What is the use of fumigating apparatus if itis not used?
– The answer to that question is so obvious that I need not put it into words.
– If those who are isolated have to tip the attendants to get the apparatus used, what is the valueor it?
– Evidently, Senator Givens’ complaint is that, having been recently quarantined, he was not fumigated or dipped into some disinfecting liquid to take all taint away from him. If he still feels that he has a grudge against the quarantine officers, I should like Dr. Norris’ attention to be called to him, in order that the process which he has escaped may be administered but, seeing that the honorable senator has been in this chamber a considerable time since the incident occurred, and no danger has consequently ensued, we may all regard ourselves as safe in coming in contact with him. We have to regard this matter as a practical problem. Senator St. Ledger, referring to the dilapidated condition of some of the quarantine stations in Queensland, spoke as though that were quite a novel state of things, of which we had never heard before.
– The stations were allowed to get into disrepair by the State Governments before the Commonwealth took them over.
– There is no doubt about that. The State Governments, knowing that quarantine was one of the functions of the Federal Government, allowed the buildings to get into disrepair.
– That is all very well.
– There is no doubt about it.
– The honorable senator ought to have conferred with Senator Findley before he gave those answers to-day.
– The answers were quite correct, but it is notorious that for several years before the Commonwealth took over quarantine the service was starved by the State Governments. No new works were undertaken, and even the maintenance of the stations was neglected. No money was spent upon them. These facts were well known to the Fusion Government. Their attention was drawn to them. But what did they do to put the stations into good repair?
– Absolutely nothing ; and when this Government does something they cavil at the expenditure.
– The Minister’s reply is quite correct, that the Fusion Government did absolutely nothing. In face of these facts, we need not pretend any extraordinary surprise when we find that the quarantine stations are not as well equipped as they ought to be. Now that Dr. Norris has returned, having acquired a great deal of experience of what is being done in other countries, this state of affairs is going to be altered. A large expenditure of money may reasonably be expected to bring the quarantine stations up to date. I hope that we shall have the assistance of the Opposition in bringing about these improvements. I trust, also, that there will be no occasion in future to be reminded that our quarantine stations are out of date. There should be no carping criticism when money is required to meet absolute necessities in the interests of public health, which has to be safeguarded in every proper manner. There is one feature that has not been touched upon, and I should like to say a brief word about it. We might give a little more attention to local outbreaks of disease than has been done in the past. As one who travels backwards and forwards to Western Australia fairly often, I am aware that many people come to this country who are in a pitiable condition, being consumptives. Whilst I am sure that no one lacks pity for any human being in that condition, still we have first of all to remember that self-preservation is the first’ law of nature to a community as well as to an individual. It behoves us to be very careful that we do not allow Australia - the fine climate of which is known all over the world - to become a dumping-ground for people with deadly disease in their system. A good many consumptives come to Australia. Naturally so, remembering what our climate is. Precautions ought to be taken with respect to their being allowed into this country. Another thing to which I should like to call attention is that the cabins in which these people travel ought to be properly fumigated before healthy people are allowed to use them. Persons who travel much in sleeping-berths in trains or in cabins on board ship run a considerable risk. One never knows who has been in possession of a berth before. One does not know by whom the bedclothes have been used. I am sure that it will pay us to insist that precautions shall be taken in these respects. It is only proper that some reference should be made to this matter during a second-reading debate. But the Minister’s attention was devoted so much to strict quarantine questions that they escaped his notice. I am fully satisfied that the measure before us will advance our means of preventing the introduction of disease from outside centres, and, that being so, I intend to support it.
– - The criticism which has been offered with respect to the amending Bill now before us has not been of a kind to which- one can take exception. Senator Givens was loud in his complaint that during the period when he was quarantined in Sydney he was not able to take a bath, and was not as comfortable as he would have liked to be. I think, however, speaking in all seriousness, that no member of the community, no matter how perfect the arrangements might be, would enjoy being placed in quarantine for three weeks or a month. It is necessarily a sort of imprisonment, and every one likes his liberty.
– Also his bath.
– In regard to bathing facilities, the Department admits that the quarantine station and grounds in Sydney are in a bad way. They are in a bad way, not through any fault of this Government, but because they were allowed to get into a defective state of repair by the Government of New South Wales.
– How long have the Federal authorities had control of them ?
– They were taken over about three years ago.
– It takes three years to put in a bath ?
– No, it does not; this Government is doing what the previous Government never attempted to do - to make every possible convenience and provide every possible comfort for those people who have to be quarantined in Sydney or elsewhere in the Commonwealth.
– There was a strong agitation in New South Wales to shift the quarantine station from its present position.
– Recommendations came along from the Director of Quarantine with respect to the site of the Sydney Station, and his proposition met with certain opposition. Several sites which have been suggested have been opposed ‘by various members of the Senate.
– I think the present site is a very good one.
– I am not in a position to say whether it is the best position or not, but I have absolute confidence in the gentleman who is now Director of Quarantine, feeling sure that he is so enthusiastic in his work, and so desirous of doing his best in the interests of the community, that he would not recommend any site which he did not feel sure was absolutely the best one. Whilst admitting that the quarantine stations and grounds in several parts of the Commonwealth are not as they might be, we have taken steps to establish a more perfect system. We wish to have a better one than is in existence in any other part of the world. Accordingly, the Government directed Dr. Norris to take a trip abroad. Senator Givens said that the trip extended over twelve months. As a matter of fact, it extended over a period of six months. That ought to be stated in justice to Dr. Norris. During that time, as Senator de Largie has reminded us, he was going at express speed. He was not abroad for pleasure, but under instructions from the Minister of Trade and Customs, and in the interests of the citizens of Australia. It is only by means of such business trips that we can hope to improve upon our methods. I do not know what the trip cost, but I am sure it was not an expensive one, and I am quite confident that the money was well spent. On last year’s Estimates provision was made for considerable improvements in regard to quarantine stations, but we recognised that we should be able to spend money to better advantage after the trip to which I have made reference. Now that Dr. Norris has returned, as money is available, these works will be proceeded with as expeditiously as possible.
– Senator Givens managed to be quarantined a little too soon.
– I do not think that the honorable senator was quite so unhappy or uncomfortable as he would have us believe. Since the Commonwealth took over quarantine, the cost has been less than it was when it was controlled by the State Governments, although it is generally admitted by the State Governments, shipowners, and all concerned, that the Quaran-tine Act of 1908, which this Bill seeks to amend, is less irksome and gives greater satisfaction than any of the State Acts which were in operation prior to the taking over of quarantine by the Commonwealth. I do not know that there is anything else in the debate to which I need refer, with the exception, perhaps, of the remarks made by Senator de Largie on the introduction of. consumptives. That matter is dealt with, not under the Quarantine Act, but under the Immigration Restriction Act. I believe that every possible precaution is taken by the Department administering the Immigration Restriction Act to see that persons suffering seriously from consumption are not allowed to land in Australia. Honorable senators will agree that it would be a very extreme course to adopt to say that a person in the incipient stage of consumption, Or one having a possible or good chance of recovery in such a climate as that of Australia, should be prevented from landing in the Commonwealth. But if there is evidence that a person is in an advanced stage of consumption, and his presence in the community would be inimical to the health and life of Australian citizens, he is not allowed to land. On the question of the fumigation of cabins, provision is made in this amending Bill, not merely for the fumigation of cabins which may have been occupied by consumptives, but for the thorough fumigation of all vessels on which there has been communicable disease. I hope that when we get into Committee we shall make speedy progress with this Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses1 to 5 agreed to.
Clause 6 (Amendment of section 13 of Principal Act).
– This clause deals with the importation of plants and animals, and I should like some explanation of the provision from the Minister in charge of the Bill. As I stated on the second reading, the orchardists of Western Australia are very seriously alarmed about the possible introduction to that State of the codlin moth. I should like to know what precautions are taken to prevent the spread of that pest.
– The Quarantine Act permits of discrimination in regard to States that are considered “ clean.” I am informed that Western Australia is considered “ clean “ in this connexion, and that the people of that State need be under no apprehension regarding the introduction of the codlin moth, a protective proclamation in that regard having already been issued.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 7 to 11 agreed to.
Clause 12 -
After section twenty-six of the Principal Act the following section is inserted : - “ 26A. - (1.) The master of a vessel subject to quarantine shall, forthwith on arrival at or near a port, bring the vessel to a place appointed by the Governor-General by proclamation to be a mooring ground for vessels subject to quarantine.
Penalty : One hundred pounds. “(2.) On the request of the master, owner, or agent of a vessel subject to quarantine, and en payment of the prescribed fee, the vessel may, with the approval of a prescribed quaran tine officer, be taken for inspection to some other place instead of to the mooring ground for vessels subject to quarantine.”
– There is a reference in the proposed new section 26a to mooring, grounds for vessels subject to quarantine, but I see nothing in the section to prevent a vessel being brought right alongside a wharf, even when flying the yellow flag.. I remember that on one occasion a German steamer, flying the yellow flag, came right alongside the wharf at Fremantle. She had waited at the Gage Roads, at the entrance to Fremantle harbor, for an hour or two for a doctor, but the weather wasso stormy that the doctor refused to board the pilot steamer to go out to the Roads tomeet the vessel. I do not think that alongside a wharf is a proper mooring ground for a vessel having disease on board. Smallpox was reported to have broken out on the vessel to which I refer, but, though it was discovered later that thedisease was not small-pox, it might very well have beer that dread disease, and, in the circumstances, I think the vessel should not have been allowed to come right alongside the wharf. If a vessel flies the yellow flag, I say that, no matter what kind of weather prevails, it is the duty of the doctor toboard such, a vessel.
– Suppose the weather is such that he cannot do so.
– In the case towhich I refer, the pilot boat went out to the vessel, and the doctor might have gone out on the pilot boat.
– Perhaps she would not take him.
– She waited for him. If the state of the weather is suchthat a pilot boat can go out to meet a vessel, and put a pilot on board, the doctor in charge of quarantine at the port should certainly go out with him. Alt deep-sea vessels are required to have a pilot to take them to the mooring groundsin the Fremantle harbor, and, when a pilot can board a vessel, a doctor can doso.
– Are there not masters with exemption certificates, who are not obliged to take a pilot?
– Some of the masters of Inter-State vessels possessing exemption certificates are not required totake a pilot, but all deep-sea vessels must have a pilot to bring them into their moorings in Fremantle harbor. It may not be possible to make the necessary provision in this proposed new section, but the Minister should see that, by regulation, no vessel flying the yellow flag should be allowed to moor alongside a wharf.
– Senator Needham is slightly in error in thinking that a vessel flying the yellow flag cannot come in to sl wharf. When there is disease on board 3l vessel, the black-and-yellow flag is flown, and vessels flying that flag are not permitted to come in to the wharf.
– The boat to which I refer came alongside the wharf at Fremantle flying the yellow flag.
– When a boat flies the yellow flag, that is an indication that she desires pratique. The probability is that ihe vessel to which Senator Needham refers came in to the wharf under the instructions of the officer on board. The yellow flag is not always a sign of danger.
– Is it right that a vessel flying the yellow flag should come in to a wharf?
– According to the quarantine authorities, it is not wrong.
– The yellow flag is not a declaration that there is disease on board.
– No. Senator Needham is under a wrong impression if he believes that the flying of the yellow flag is an indication that there is a quarantinable disease on board a vessel.
– What is it flown for?
– It is a demand for pratique, but it is not an indication that there is a quarantinable disease on board.
– I quite realize that the flying of a yellow flag is a signal that a doctor is wanted.
– It is also a signal that <there is infectious disease on board.
– It is not, according to the Minister. He says that it is an indication that a doctor is wanted to grant pratique, and that the vessel can go alongside a wharf on the orders of the officers of the ship. A ship’s officers cannot determine whether a disease is quarantinable or not. They may be very good sailors but very bad doctors. If the Minister has correctly stated the practice in the past, the time has arrived when it should be altered. We are told that the flying of the yellow flag is an indication that a doctor is wanted.
– Not to examine as to disease, but to examine the ship’s papers to see whether she should be granted pratique. There may be no disease on board.
– My point is that when the yellow flag is flown there is a necessity for a doctor. Now the Minister tells me that it is not a doctor who determines whether there is an infectious disease on board, but an officer of the ship.
– I did not say anything of the kind.
– The Minister said very plainly that the flying of the yellow flag is not an indication that there is disease on board a ship.
– If there is disease on board a ship, she flies the black and yellow flag.
– Such a determination should not be left to the officers of the ship. The yellow flag is, to my mind, a signal of danger. If the officers of a vessel are permitted to determine whether or not a doctor should board the ship, the regulations require alteration.
– There appears to be some misunderstanding about this matter. A doctor does not board every ship arriving in Australia. There are numbers of ports scattered around Australia at which it would be impossible to keep a doctor to board vessels entering them. Customs-house officers act as quarantine officers as well as doctors.
– I am informed that a doctor Was on board the vessel to which Senator Needham’ referred.
– The quarantine officer. who may be a Customs officer, who boards a ship to examine her papers, decides whether a doctor is necessary or not, and, if disease is reported to him, he insists upon an examination by a doctor.
– What flag would the ship fly then?
– The yellow and black chequer flag. When an officer is unable to decide that there is quarantinable disease on board, the yellow flag is flown to indicate that a doctor is wanted. In cases where a pilot is required to take a vessel to a wharf, a penalty is imposed if she is brought to the wharf without a pilot. So that in the case referred to it was not the quarantine authorities who were to blame.
– Is not the doctor the first man to go on board a vessel at all the principal ports?
– Not necessarily; in fact, that is impossible. For instance, there is only one doctor for Melbourne. Is it possible for one doctor to board every vessel which comes through the Heads during twenty-four hours?
– Is there not a doctor stationed at the Heads whose duty it is to go out to ships ?
– He goes out if necessary - that is, if the ships are not coming from clean ports.
– Do you tell me that the flying of the yellow flag is not a signal for a doctor to go on board?
– It is a signal that the master wants a doctor to come on board to give a certificate that the vessel is leaving the port clean. The yellow flag is mostly flown in connexion with the performance of clerical work. I think that no pilot would ever dare to take a ship alongside the wharf when the yellowandblack flags were flying, and disease on board had been reported to him.
– On the occasion I referred to, the pilot dared to do it. A passenger was ill, and the doctor on board thought it was a case of small-pox. The yellow flag was flown, and, despite the fact that it was thought on board to be a case of small-pox the vessel was brought alongside the wharf. I still contend that when the yellow flag is flown the quarantine doctor ought to go on board the vessel at her mooring ground, and not alongside the wharf. If the pilot boat can take a pilot to a steamer, I contend that when the yellow flag is flown the quarantine doctor should board the vessel outside the Heads.
– Senator Needham is wrong in believing that because the yellow flag is flown on a vessel there is disease on board.
– There was a case of illness on a vessel, and the doctor thought that it was small-pox.
– I should like to obtain from the honorable senator the specific case to which he is referring.
– It can be found on the files in the Department.
– The hoisting of the black-and-yellow flag is a signal that there is, in the belief of the medical man or the officer in charge, a disease on the boat. The yellow flag is not an indication that a doctor is required ; on the contrary, it is an indication that in the opinion of the captain the vessel is clean.
– Senator Guthrie says the opposite.
– The Director of Quarantine has informed me that the flying of the yellow flag is an indication that, in the belief of the captain, the vessel is clean.
– It must be something more than that, surely?
– It is a further assurance that, although a doctor is required, he need not subject himself to unnecessary inconvenience in the way of putting on overalls, and doing this, that, and the other, which would be the case if the black-and-yellow flag was flying. The yellow flag is an indication to the doctor that in the opinion of the captain there is not a communicable disease on board, and, therefore, it is a mere matter of form for a quarantine officer to go on board the vessel and the necessary clearance to be effected. A quarantine officer Hoes board every vessel. A doctor was on the vessel to which Senator Needham has referred, and he should be the best judgeas to whether it was safe for her to go alongside the wharf. The vessel could not be there without his permission, and that his permission was given is evidenced by the statement made by Senator Needham that she did come along from her mooring although she had a case of illness on board.
– Is it possible for a deep-sea vessel, which in the opinion of the master is clean, to come right up to a wharf without a quarantine doctor going on board?
– Not without a quarantine officer on board.
– The Honorary Minister has not yet got a grasp of my point. This vessel was carrying a doctor, and she waited for two hours for the port doctor to come, as the former thought that it was a quarantinable disease, and might turn out to be a case of small-pox.
– What flag was he flying?
– The yellow flag.
– Then he was flying the wrong flag.
– That is not my fault. The yellow flag was flown, asking the port doctor to go on board, but he said, “No, the weather is too stormy; I will not venture out; I will wait until the ship comes alongside.” If, on diagnosis, it had been proved that it was a case of smallpox, what would have been the position of the lumpers?
– Did the authorities take no action in the matter?
– The only action taken was a representation of the facts by me to the Department, and the expression of the hope that it would not occur again ; but it might occur again.
– That was an admission by the Department that it did occur on that occasion.
– Yes. There were lumpers waiting to go to work on the vessel. Had there been a case of smallpox on board there would have been communication at once with them.
– I think that Senator Needham need not be very anxious about this matter. If he refers to the principal Act, he will find that there is a penalty provided for a shipmaster who brings his vessel within the quarantine line.
– That will not prevent the spread of small-pox.
– The penalty is supposed to prevent a shipmaster from bringing his vessel inside the prescribed lines.
– Well, it was not heavy enough to stop one boat from crossing the line.
– Senator Needham seems to think it is possible to control these things. The master of a ship, is, so to speak’, the “boss” of the position; and if he chooses to defy the law he is liable to a penalty. If the master of a ship transgressed the law, the pity is that the provision was not put into operation. All that we can do here is to frame a law, in the hope that it will be observed, and that if it is broken the offenders will be punished. I should not care to increase the substantial fine of £100, because I think it is a sufficient penalty for an offence of this kind.
– On one occasion I had the pleasure of spending a three weeks’ holiday at the quarantine station in Victoria, where there was no quarantinable ‘disease at the time. I had the opportunity to make several trips in the Government launch to boats as they came in, and I was of opinion then that it was the practice of the quarantine doctor to inspect every boat. Is it optional for -a boat to call for the doctor, seeing that he appears to have no other duty than to inspect boats as they arrive? Is it possible for a boat which has disease or illness on board to ignore the quarantine doctor if, in the opinion of the master, the vessel is clean? Take the cse of the *Irishman, which landed passengers at the Melbourne wharf. I am not clear as to whether the doctor at the quarantine station had inspected her. But, in the event of the doctor having inspected the boat, and measles, which most of the immigrants had, not being a quarantinable disease, did he permit her to proceed to the Melbourne wharf ? At any rate, she came to the Melbourne wharf, and, . after consultation, the authorities decided that the whole of the passengers must be sent back 40 miles to the quarantine station for treatment. In this case there seems to have been a lack of co-operation. Although measles may not be a quarantinable disease, still the whole of the medical officers considered that the position was serious enough to warrant the sending of the boat to the quarantine station. She should certainly have been inspected when she came inside the Heads; she should never have been permitted to come to the wharf without the authorities having made a thorough inspection. Had that been :done, there is no doubt that the boat would not have been permitted to land any passengers at the wharf. Although it was only measles from which they were suffering, the passengers were kept on the wharf for forty-eight hours while the boat was being unloaded. Had it been a more serious disease, the position would have been a grave one indeed for the city of Melbourne. I should like to know whether there was neglect in this case, and whether it is met by the amendments contained in the Bill.
– In regard to ves.sels coming to Australia, at the first port of entry they must get a clearance. A medical officer, under instructions from the Quarantine Department, boards a ship, and if he is assured that there is no quarantinable disease on board, she is allowed to proceed. The Irishman was closely inspected by the quarantine officers off Williamstown, and kept off that place during the night. It was known to the quarantine authorities that there were cases of measles on board, but under the principal Act measles is not a quarantinable disease. We had no power to detain the vessel or any of the passengers, and, therefore, she was allowed to proceed to Melbourne. As soon as the wharf was reached, the State authorities were responsible, and they took over the vessel. Under this Bill, measles will, in a measure, be a quarantinable disease, and there will not, I hope, be a similar case in the future.
– In the event of any disease of a serious nature being on board a vessel, would it not be better for the quarantine authorities to communicate with the health authorities prior to her coming to the wharf?
– That is always done.
– Why was it not done in the case of the Irishman?
– I believe that every possible precaution was taken by the Quarantine Department to prevent the spread of measles, and to make the fact known to the State authorities that that disease was on board.
– What happened that the authority which allowed the boat to come in had to send her back again?.
– When the State authorities were informed that under the principal Act measles was not a quarantinable disease, they asked the Commonwealth to take control of the boat, and see to the passengers on board. That was immediately done.
– 1 am not going to say that a wrong thing was done, but if measles is not a quarantinable disease, I am curious to know under what authority the Minister stepped in, took charge of the boat at the request of the State Government, and sent her back to the quarantine station?
– Because they desired us to do so.
– Not under the authority of any law?
– No.: we acted in the interests of the public health.
– That is what I wanted to get at.
– The Minister’s explanation is one of the first illustrations I have received that two wrongs may make a right. In the first place our original Act was defective, because it did not make measles a quarantinable disease. When the ship came to the wharf the State authorities stepped in toprotect the health of the city of Melbourne. The question then was by what law the ship could be dealt with. It seems to me that the State authorities did wrong in the technical legal sense, but right in preserving the health of the community by sending the ship again to Federal jurisdiction. The two wrongs amounted to a right. Thisis the first time I have heard of such a thing occurring.
– When the Irishman was inspected by the quarantine authorities they knew there was measles on board, but did not regard the outbreak as serious enough, or did not think that they had sufficient power, to send the passengers into quarantine. The State authorities actually waited until the boat touched at the wharf. Just as measles at this time was not considered a quarantinable disease, so there may at some future time be some other disease which may not be quarantinable under the law, but which, nevertheless, it may be desirable for the quarantine officers to deal with. There ought to be some clause in the Bill enabling; the quarantine authorities, if they consider an outbreak of disease serious enough to put the passengers into quarantine, to take that action, although, the particular disease may not be specifically quarantinable.
– That is provided, for in this Bill.
– I am anxious that the quarantine authorities shall have a general power* In the case of the Irishman there was divided authority, and it was very regrettable that the authoritiesbegan to quarrel among themselves.
– There was no divided’ power. The Federal authorities had nopower.
– But they exercised a power which they did not possess.
– They did1 so by the wish of the State authorities. If the disease was not quarantinable it must have been with the consent of the shipmaster that the authorities were able to get over a serious- difficulty. I hope that thisBill will, confer that general power which is necessary to enable the quarantine authorities to take drastic action whenever they consider it necessary.
– A good deal of publicity has been given to the case of the
Irishman in the columns of the metropolitan press in Victoria. One of the articles that I read on the subject in the columns of a certain newspaper made it appear that the blame rested altogether with the Commonwealth Department. As a matter of fact, however, no blame was attachable to the Commonwealth. We were asked to act by the Government of Victoria. The State Government could, if they had so desired, have isolated the passengers on the Irishman, but they preferred that the Commonwealth should act on their behalf, and put the passengers in the quarantine grounds. That is where they were taken. Immediately after the arrival of the Irishman off Williamstown our medical officer boarded her, and having ascertained that measles was on board, at once got into touch with the State medical officer, Dr. Burnett Ham. The vessel arrived on the Sunday. Dr. Burnett Ham was communicated with immediately. The vessel did not reach the Melbourne wharf until the Monday morning.
– Had Dr. Ham power under any State Act to isolate any case of measles on board the ship?
– I think so.
– It is extraordinary if he had.
– I believe that the State authorities have power to isolate persons suffering from measles.
– Does the Minister know that to be a fact?
– I know it to be an absolute fact. The State authorities can isolate any persons suffering from measles or diphtheria.
– There is an enormous difference between measles and diphtheria.
– They have this power if they choose to exercise it. I am rather surprised at that question being put to me. Here was a serious case of a number of passengers on board a vessel suffering from measles, a disease that is most infectious. What would have happened if those persons had been allowed to land in Melbourne? Does any one suppose that the municipal or State authorities would not have been forced to do something to protect the health of the citizens by preventing the spread of the disease? This was a very serious outbreak, and if the State authorities had not had power to prevent the persons suffering from leaving the ship the lives of thousands might have been endangered. I desire to make it clear that the Commonwealth did all it possibly could in connexion with the Irishman case, and that our action in sending the passengers to the Commonwealth quarantine ground was taken at the instigation of the Government of Victoria.
– An interesting point has been raised by Senator Russell. I am pleased to have heard the Minister’s explanation, because while this matter was being discussed in the newspapers, it was almost impossible to obtain anything like an accurate idea of the position. I do not know whether the newspapers were anxious, in their usual way, to misrepresent the administration of quarantine as they misrepresent other Federal action. That is such a usual thing for them to do, that we need not be surprised. However, the position has been put clearly and straightforwardly this morning. I should like to know whether there is anything in the present Billto enable such a case as that of the Irishman to be controlled by our quarantine authorities.
– Absolutely yes; quarantinable disease, such as fevers, can be controlled by our authority.
– That is quite satisfactory.
– I should like to have it made absolutely clear that the Federal authorities have power to deal at once with any dangerous disease, whether it has been defined as quarantinable or not. In the Irishman case, there was power, under the original Quarantine Act, to issue a proclamation, making measles quarantinable. The definition section provides that any disease may be declared by the Governor-General by proclamation to be a quarantinable disease. Consequently, the Irishman case could have been dealt with by the mere issue of a proclamation.
– As soon as the vessel got to the wharf ?
– Possible, but not very practicable.
– The Irishman was in port forty-eight hours after the existence of the disease was known, and surely a proclamation could have been issued within forty-eight hours. It has been said that the Government broke the law in order to do a necessary thing. I say that there was no need to break the law at all. It was within the power of the Government to issue a proclamation.
– Measles had not been proclaimed quarantinable.
– But the disease might have been proclaimed at once. What we require in future is that if a ship comes into port with disease on board which is inimical to our people, we should not wait until the ship arrives at a wharf before a proclamation is issued. It appears to me that we need to amend the definition of “ quarantinable.”
– I understood the Minister to say just now that, under the existing Act, the Government had no power to treat measles as quarantinable, but that they take that power under the terms of this Bill. Surely that statement was not correct, if what Senator Guthrie says is right. It appears that, under the law as it stands, there was power for the quarantine authorities to deal with measles. If that be so, the Minister’s statement was hardly correct.
– Under the English law, and the laws of many other countries, as well as under the old Colonial laws of Australia, measles was not quarantinable, and no doubt that was what Senator Findley was thinking of.
– He said that we had no power to make measles quarantinable under the existing law.
– What Senator Guthrie says may be true - that we had power to proclaim any disease quarantinable. But that provision may be construed to mean “ any serious disease.”
– That measles was thought to be serious is proved by the action subsequently taken.
– It is a serious disease in some circumstances, but it is not always considered serious. That is perhaps what Senator Findley had in his mind.
– Senator Guthrie now desires to make out that, under the original Act, a proclamation could have been issued making measles quarantinable, and that, consequently, the Irishman case could have been dealt with by proclamation. But what sort of a farce would it have been to wait and call the Cabinet together and go through all the machinery requisite for the issue of a proclamation before dealing with this urgent case ! It is clear that the pro clamation method was no remedy for this case.
– The boat was within an hour of the Melbourne wharf.
– As the Act did not allow the Federal authorities to deal with the outbreak on board the Irishman except by the issue of a proclamation, and as proclamations cannot be issued as rapidly as you can turn out sausages, it is evident that that remedy did not relieve the authorities from the dilemma in which they found themselves. There was only one way out of the difficulty. I think that the two Departments concerned’ did a wise thing, even though their action was not legal. That is to say, the vessel having got beyond Federal jurisdiction, it was hurried back again into Federal control, and the passengers were quarantined. I take it that one of the objects of this Bill is to prevent a repetition of such a disagreeable happening.
– Senator Guthrie says that we should have issued a proclamation in regard to the Irishman case. It is true that we could have done that under the principal Act. But proclamations cannot be issued in a moment. In order that in future we may be able to deal with such cases without difficulty, there is provision in this Bill to enable us, if deemed desirable, not to quarantine a whole ship and every passenger on board, but to isolate those passengers who are suffering from measles, and allow the others to proceed on their journey. This will be much to the convenience of ship-owners, and will still insure the safety of the community.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 13 to 15 agreed to.
Clause 16 (Vessels having cases of communicable disease on board).
– This clause partially meets the difficulty to which I referred at an earlier stage. I do not know whether we are at present aware of all the diseases which it may be desirable to declare quarantinable, but I do not see any power provided in this clause to deal with a ship effectively should that be considered necessary. A case might arise in connexion with a disease which is not now declared to be quarantinable, in which it would be advisable to control, not only the passengers, but the boat and cargo. If we are to have an effective system of quarantine, we must place very extensive powers in the hands of our quarantine officers. I cannot conceive that such powers would be abused. Generally, the weakness of our laws is that they do not meet extreme cases. Our quarantine authorities are not likely merely for the fun of the thing to declare that a vessel should not proceed on her voyage without undergoing quarantine. This clause does not appear to me to be strong enough to meet extreme cases.
– Senator E. J. Russell need be under no apprehension in regard to the matter he has mentioned. It is a very important one, and has not escaped the notice of the quarantine authorities. If he will look at clause 26, dealing with the inspection and cleansing of insanitary vessels, he will find that provision is made in this Bill to meet all that he desires.
– I see that that meets the difficulty.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 17 to 27 agreed to.
Clause 28 (Amendment of section 87 of principal Act).
– I should like to direct the attention of the Minister to what in my State is felt to be a very serious handicap on shipping. We have something like eighty-six ports along our coast-line, but only a few of these have been proclaimed as ports of entry. In our wheat season, ships come from South America and elsewhere in ballast to these ports for the purpose of loading wheat. Some little time ago a ship went into Port Victoria to load wheat. But immediately she got there, the master was told that it was not a port of entry, and he had to up-anchor, set sails, and make for Port Pirie, a distance of something like 150 miles, in order to get into a port of entry, and he then had to go back to Port Victoria to get his cargo. That is a very serious handicap on our shipping, and the Government should take action to increase the number of the ports of entry. I know that the objection is that is would involve considerable expense to maintain quarantine officers at each small port, but in the case fo which I refer the master and agents of the ship were prepared to pay any expense which might be involved in sending a quarantine officer to Port Victoria to do what was necessary. I suggest that it would be well to provide by regulation that any port at which a ship may be loaded shall be considered a port of entry even if the expense of providing for a visit to the port of a quarantine officer should be put upon the ship. I direct the attention of the Minister to this difficulty, and I hope he will bring it under the notice of the Department, and see whether some provision cannot be made to meet it.
– The honorable senator will find that in this Bill provision is made to meet such a case as he refers to. If he will look at paragraph a of clause 3 he will find that it is provided that - “First port of entry” in relation to a vessel means a first port of entry for that vessel.
– But it must be a proclaimed port of entry. That will be of no use in the case of small ports that are not proclaimed ports of entry.
– It is not desirable, as the honorable senator is aware, to multiply the number of ports of entry, but it is highly desirable, in the interests of trade, and of Australia generally, that there should not be any undue hardship placed upon masters of . vessels Coming from clean ports, and desiring to enter small ports in Australia to secure loading. Provision is made in this Bill for such cases as Senator Guthrie has cited. If the vessel to which he refers came from a clean port, it would be possible under this Bill for that vessel to go into a small port, which would be proclaimed a port of entry, and she could get her necessary clearances and proceed on her voyage after she had secured her cargo. Whether the whole expense in such cases will be borne by the Commonwealth is a matter for consideration later on; but Senator Guthrie can accept my assurance that no such case as he has mentioned can occur under this Bill.
Clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment ; report adopted.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
In moving the second reading of this Bill, I feel that I am taking a great responsibility on myself, because to deal with a matter of this kind requires a knowledge of all that has been done in the direction of protecting authors and artists in the past by copyright legislation. Individuals who spend their lives in the authorship of books, or the production of artistic works, do as much for the country as any other section of the population. As we are always prepared to protect the person who accumulates wealth, and invests it in his own interests, and- the interests of his family, or even of his posterity,, it is equally our duty to protect the poor author or artist, who may, through a life of trial and tribulation, bring into existence something that gives pleasure and profit to the rest of mankind. In the past attempts have been made, not only in Englishspeaking countries, but in other parts of the world, to give some protection to such people ; but so inconsistent in some cases with justice, so difficult of administration, and so faulty in almost every respect has been the legislation of this description, that I may inform honorable senators that in England there were no less than seventeen Acts repealed, and four amended, in order to bring the law to its present state of perfection. We have ourselves attempted to do something in this matter. In 1905 we passed a Copyright Act, which, at the time, was considerably in advance of any legislation of the kind enacted, even in Great Britain itself. When we speak of Great Britain in this connexion, we include her Dominions, and her copyright legislation has been very interesting. As far back as 1886, an International Copyright Conference was held in Berne. Decisions were come to there, and it was ultimately agreed that certain provisions should be made for the protection of those who labour in the authorship an’d production of literary and artistic works of all kinds. In 1887 Great Britain gave her adhesion to the decisions of that Conference, and passed legislation accordingly. In 1896 there was an additional Act passed, known as the Additional Act of Paris, though it was pot an Act of Parliament in the sense in which we generally understand the term. It was really another Convention in connexion’ with copyright. In 1908 an International Conference was held at Berlin. In 1909 a very strong Committee was appointed by the British Board of Trade to make an inquiry into the Berlin Convention and the state of British copyright law. They went into the matter fully, and came to the conclusion that the Convention should be adhered to, and the British law amended accordingly. But before the British Government were prepared to take definite action on the recommendations of such an important body they decided to have a conference at which representatives of the different Dominions should be present. In 1910 that Conference was held. The representative of the Australian Dominion was Lord Tennyson, a nobleman with Australian experience, and I feel sure that the great majority of the people of Australia would be very well satisfied with his representation at a Conference of that description. As the result of the work of the Committee of 1909, and the Conference of 1910, in the latter part of 19I0 a Copyright Bill of a very liberal and advanced character was introduced in the Imperial Parliament. It was thoroughly discussed, but it was not until 191 1 that it was passed, and it was to come into operation on the 1st July, 1912, or on an earlier date to be fixed by proclamation. As no proclamation was issued by the British authorities the Act came into operation on the 1st July, 1912. I am sure that those who have Imperial instincts, and desire that some kind of uniformity in respect to copyright and other matters of that description should exist throughout the British Dominions, will be pleased to know that the Government, in proposing to repeal our Act of 1905, wish to adopt in its entirety the Act which was passed by the Imperial Parliament in 1911.
– Hear, hear !
– I knew that some honorable senators would be more satisfied than others, and I am very glad that I have had the assent of an authority who, undoubtedly, has some knowledge of copyright - one who is himself an author - and would put a very high estimate on the value of protection of this description. I want now to point out the advantages. Of course, no legislation is worth having’ unless it gives some advantages to the people of the country in which it is passed. The first principle laid down by the British Act is that copyright is an Imperial matter. Although it- is considered an Imperial matter by the British authorities yet they are prepared to give every latitude to the Dominions within the Empire. They did not pass legislation of a character such as we are dealing with today and say to the Dominions “ You must adopt this absolutely and nothing else,” but they desire that we should recognise . the advantages of the Imperial Act. If we think it advisable to adopt it, we have the power to do so, but if we think otherwise we can still remain outside the operation of the Imperial legislation. I consider that the greatest advantages may accrue to the Dominions if they adopt the Imperial Copyright Act. They will get the benefit of the experience of men who have lived and worked in Great Britain in the direction of protecting those who deserve it, those in whose interests we are working to-day. If a Dominion decides to remain outside this legislation the Imperial authorities are not going to compel them to adopt it. If we remain outside we shall not have the advantage of the protection which we might otherwise obtain, nor shall we have the benefit of the valuable decisions which will be given under this or asimilar law in Great Britain. With respect to foreign countries the Imperial Act makes every provision for the protection of the Dominions in those countries. The majority of the countries in Europe - France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Italy ; in fact, most of the principal countries - are in the Berne Convention, and the protection of this Act would extend to our authors and artists in all the countries which are in the Convention. The Imperial Government has an arrangement with. Austria-Hungary, and I may mention here that there are countries outside the Convention. Russia, for instance, is one of them, although there are very great hopes that in the near future this great and important country in Europe will also join. Holland, too, is outside the Convention, and so is another great country, the United States. I do not know that there is any great possibility of the United States coming under an arrangement with other countries in the world, principally because her Copyright Act contains a provision that everything copyrighted in America must be produced there.
– Does America still hold to that?
– Yes. I donot know whether in the near future any yielding on that point may be possible, but as the honorable senator knows, Scrutton, one of the greatest writers on this question, declares that the provision is a blot on the escutcheon of the United States. Whether that is so or not, or whether, like another great Power, they may take thought and amend it in the near future
I cannot say. The Imperial Copyright Act gives certain latitude to the Dominions to make laws on the subject if they like, to remain outside the legislation, and protect themselves in various directions; that is, if under the Convention and the adoption of the British principles of copyright, they are prepared to give privileges to foreign countries. Great Britain has to be satisfied that those privileges or advantages will be extended to the Dominion giving such privileges to anybody else. Not only have we our own power to obtain advantages, but we have the power of the British Empire behind us when we ask for anything which is just and fair from another country. Let me now point out some of the advances made by this Imperial Act. One advance is that contrivances by means of which sounds may be mechanically reproduced have been provided for. These articles are of very recent origin, and, consequently, they could scarcely have been provided for previously. Having come into existence they play a very important part in the work of the world to-day, that is in connexion with the reproduction of music and other work of that description. I have known honorable senators to be very anxious that something should be done by the Federal Parliament. 1 believe that we are all anxious that something should be done in connexion with the relationship which should exist between musical authors and those who reproduce music by mechanical contrivances. This new British legislation has provided- for that in different ways. So far as the reproduction of a musical work already published is concerned, no one infringes the copyright of a musical author by making a contrivance by means of which it may be mechanically reproduced, provided he gives the owner of the copyright notice and pays the prescribed royalty. That is. any music produced before the adoption of the latest British Act can only be used in that way when the users have given notice to the owner of the copyright and paid royalty. With regard to musical works produced after the commencement of the Act, there are also other conditions with respect to the manner in which any copyright can be availed of in that direction. Another advance of the Imperial Act is that the new legislation applies to architecture. Some of those who have had to do with copyright legislation have always strenuously objected to architecture being included, or to anything in connexion with architecture being considered a work of art. Under this new British legislation, even the architect is protected if he produces something novel in the way of designs for buildings. But so far as ordinary copyright is concerned they must be placed in a different position altogether; because the infringers of copyright have to give up to the owner everything which they have used in the direction of infringement, and it would be very difficult for an architect to give up a building. Again, infringements of copyright have to be produced in Court. It would be rather difficult for an architect, or the owner, to produce the building in Court. Therefore, architecture is treated differently, and instead of offering the building, or producing it in Court, the remedy is an action for infringement. There is another respect in which the latest Imperial Act differs somewhat materially from the legislation we passed in 1905, namely in regard to the term of copyright. I may mention here that the term limit of the copyright of an author or artist in his work is lower in Great Britain than in almost every other country in the world. We adopted that to some extent when we were passing our Commonwealth Act. In the measure of 1905 we provided that the interest of an author or owner of a copyright should extend during the life of the author himself and for seven years after death, or for forty-two years after publication, whichever was the longer term. In some other countries the term allowed is much longer. In Spain it extends to life and eighty years, and in Italy to forty years. In France, Norway, and Sweden, the term is fifty years beyond the life of the author. That is to say, if an author lived fifty years after the publication of a book, copyright would continue for fifty years longer; or, if he died a year after publication, the copyright would still continue for fifty years after his death. That is a much more liberal provision than was provided by Imperial legislation or by the Commonwealth Act in the past. There are many reasons why we should be satisfied to accept such an extension. If any person invests £5,000 in property, he can leave it as an inheritance to his descendants; but if an author 01 artist devotes ,£5,000 worth of his time or money to the production of a work which is of benefit to the people, copyright in it, under our present legislation, would last only forty-two years as a maximum, unless the author lived for more than thirtyfive years after publishing the work. I think that that was unfair to the descendants of an author or artist. Even the Imperial Parliament has now adopted much more liberal legislation. Another reason why it was desirable to adopt a longer term is that we should not give a less liberal term than is the case in the most liberal country in the Copyright Convention; and, although we have done that to some extent, we have at length determined to adopt the term in operation in most civilized countries. It will be remembered that when our Federal Constitution was being framed, it was provided that when Australia adopted a universal franchise she must adopt the most liberal franchise existing in any State of the Commonwealth. Similarly, when we adopted the universal postage rate for Australia, we had to adopt the most liberal rate existing in any State. We could not go back. It was so with the Imperial Government when dealing with copyright. When more than one person is interested in a particular copyright - that is to say, when there is collaboration in the production of a work, and there are two or three joint authors - the term proposed is fifty years from the death of the first author, or the life of the last one to die, whichever term is the longer. So that it will be seen that we are attempting to arrange matters, as far as we possibly can, in the interests of authors and artists. Every one will agree that we should do something to encourage those who have talent and ability as artists and authors in Australia. It would be injurious to the interests of the people, however, if, after liberal terms had been given to the owners of copyright, anything were done to prevent the public from getting the advantage of the publication of the work. Consequently, we have made provision that twenty-five years after the death of an author any one can publish a work by paying a royalty of 10 per cent, on the published price; and we also provide that, if the proprietors of a copyright fail to publish after the death of an author, the High Court can compel them to give a licence to anybody who applies to reproduce the work, under conditions which will be laid down, and which will have to be observed, for the protection of the rights of the heirs or descendants of the author. There is one other provision to which I must call special attention. An author, or the owner of a copyright, may be poor, and, under stress of circumstances, may assign his rights to some one else. We provide in this Bill that the owner of a copyright cannot make an assignment to cover a period of more than twenty-five years after his death, and, after that term, the copyright becomes a portion of his estate. That is a fair thing to do, inasmuch as it prevents an author from assigning away his rights, and thus, as it were, disinheriting his family. A person might do such a thing from spite, or at a time of temporary mental derangement. The good sense of the Senate will, I am sure, sanction the adoption of such a provision in this measure so that no person shall do anything of the kind, either for the purpose of disinheriting his children or defeating his creditors.
Sitting suspended from 1 Ho 2.30 p.m.
– Although the provision to which I was referring before the luncheon adjournment may appear to be a restriction on the right of authors to dispose of their own property, it must be remembered that there are other circumstances in which legislation provides that individuals shall not, in the interests of those dependent upon them, dispose of their rights. But we are not absolutely interfering with the free will of an author, because we do not prevent him from disposing of his rights by will. He can, if he likes, will away his rights. But, under the Imperial Act which this Bill adopts, he cannot assign them for more than twentyfive years after his death. The next point upon which I wish to touch relates to the publication of school books. It will be understood that in the preparation of such works copyright cannot be strictly enforced. But we ‘can guard against infringement to a very great extent. In the preparation of school books, we propose to allow a person to make not more than two extracts from a copyright work, and we prevent the making of additional extracts from the works of the same author within a period of five years. So that, although we protect the public interest from an educational point of view, we also protect authors by limiting the extent to which their works can be reproduced without their consent. The term of copyright in Government publications, as I understand, has in the past been in a very uncertain condition. It has not been properly defined. But in this Bill we propose that Government publications or works that have been prepared by Government officers shall have copyright, and that the copyright shall be the property of His Majesty, the King, and shall extend to a period of fifty years from the date of publication.
– The Minister is assuming some work prepared by Government officers ?
– Yes, such as books of statistics, or other works which are the property of the country. There is a novel feature in this legislation relating to registration. By the Imperial Act registration is abolished. The author’s copyright is protected without registration, or any difficulty or inconvenience to him. I am quoting this to show the comprehensive character of this measure. Political speeches are exempt from copyright. That is to say, if a politician or candidate addresses a public meeting, the newspapers can publish reports of his speech without any fear of being prosecuted for infringing his lecturing right.
– Could we not go further, and compel the newspapers to publish our speeches?
– I am afraid we could not put such a provision in a Copyright Bill. We might do something of the kind in an Electoral Bill, or we might provide, by an amendment of the Postal Act, that no newspaper should be registered as such unless it published the whole of the speeches which the honorable senator, or any other member of Parliament, or politician, chose to make. But it certainly would not be wise to deal with that subject in this Bill. Lecturers and preachers can, of course, protect themselves by giving notice beforehand, or by posting a notice at the place where they speak, that the publication of their utterances will be an infringement of the copyright law; but a politician is not protected in that way. No such right is reserved to him when he addresses a public meeting. If, however, he addresses a private meeting, he is in the same position as a lecturer or preacher, and publication of his address is an infringement of the copyright law.
– That simply makes the old law clearer, I think.
– That is the position.
– Senator St. Ledger is perfectly safe; he can pursue the even tenor of his way.
– If Senator St. Ledger, as a politician, addresses a public meeting, the newspapers can publish his speech if they like; but if he addresses a meeting of the Women’s National League, or any similar organization of a private character - because these ladies have declared that they are not political - then, by posting a notice, he can prevent publication. If he did not warn off persons who might desire to publish his utterances, it is hard to say what might happen.
– The honorable senator is opening up immense possibilities to me !
– The next provision to which I shall refer is that dealing with unpublished works. Previously, unpublished works have only had the protection that the common law gave them. This legislation will give to unpublished works the same protection as is given to published works. This, I think, is a wise innovation. Honorable senators will see that the Imperial Act is attached to this Bill somewhat in the form of a schedule to an ordinary Bill. There is this difference, however, that while the Senate or another place can amend the ordinary schedule to a Bill, we can strike out the whole of the schedule to this Bill, but cannot amend it. I do not think it would be judicious for us to strike it out entirely. The adoption of the Imperial Act in our legislation will be a step in the direction of making copyright legislation as far as possible uniform throughout the civilized world. We can, of course, make alterations to suit Australian conditions with respect to procedure and remedies without interfering in any way with the principles of Imperial legislation. For instance, in this Bill we provide for registration, though that is not provided for in the Imperial Act. It may, in certain circumstances, be advisable to provide for registration, and I intend to refer to some of these. Registration under our law would enable the issue of warrants to seize infringing copies. If an author, whose copyright was infringed in any way, wished to take action, he could, by reason of the registration of his copyright, under our legislation, take out a warrant to seize any publication which he regarded as an infringement of his copyright. He would be given power also to search. In connexion with subjects other than authors’ copyright the provision for registration will give power to issue notice to forbid performance of a work in infringement of copyright. Suppose, for instance, a theatrical company came here, and was about to produce a certain piece,, and the author wished to enforce his copyright conditions, he could, under the provision for registration, give notice to every member of the company that if any attempt, were made to produce his work, he would take legal proceedings against each member of the company. He could give notice in the same way to the owner, proprietor, or lessee of the theatre of his intention to take action if any attempt were made to produce his work in that theatre, and he would have his remedy at law. These are advantages which would arise from registration under our law, although registration is abolished by the Imperial Act. In the past, certain criticisms have been levelled at the law passed by the Commonwealth Parliament in 1905. Of course, its imperfections were criticised, and some criticisms were offered upon the registration provisions requiring an author, in order to register, to provide two copies of his work, and to do other things considered necessary under our legislation. With respect to the supplying of copies, I do not think that our law can be complained of when compared with the provisions of the Imperial Act. Under that Act, the British Museum must be provided with one of the best copies of any work which is published in the United Kingdom. An author may also be called upon to provide a copy of his work for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, a Scotch and an Irish University, and, in some cases, the National Library of Wales. An author will not be required to do anything of the kind under Australian laws. Under the existing law, he has to supply two copies of his work to the Commonwealth t authorities if he wants to register his work, but under this Bill he will only be called upon to supply one copy. No honorable senator can object to such a condition. A desire has been expressed since the inception of the Commonwealth for the establishment of a National Library. The best - works of our best authors should certainly be included in that library, and we therefore make provision that the publishers of any work published in Australia shall supply one copy of the work for the benefit ‘of the National Library.
– Why should they be expected to donate a copy of each of their works to the National Library?
– In return for the protection we give them under our copyright law. Why is Senator Givens protected by the police when he is so strong and healthy that he is well able to protect himself? When an author is afforded all the protection we shall give him by the adoption of the Imperial Act and by our own legislation, we are asking very little from him when we ask him to supply the National Library with one copy of his work.
– One author’s work may be worth £2, whilst another’s may be absolute rubbish, and worth nothing.
– It will probably be a greater trouble to the inferior author to produce his inferior book than it will be for the great author to produce a book that will be worthy the attention of every one in the Commonwealth.
– The National Library will not necessarily keep the inferior books.
– If they are thought good enough, the books will no doubt be kept on the shelves of the Library, whilst those that are not considered worth keeping may be made a bonfire of.
– If we want a National Library, we should be prepared to pay for it, and should not cadge upon poor authors for their books.
– It has been found necessary to adapt certain provisions of the Imperial Act to suit Australian conditions. In the case, for instance, of importations which, under copyright legislation, may be considered prohibited, it is necessary that we should have our own officers to carry such a provision into effect. Under the Imperial Act, this work is performed by the Imperial Customs authorities. We could not retain that provision intact, and it is necessary to provide in our legislation that the officers of the Commonwealth Customs Department shall be placed in charge of the matter. The next matter arising for consideration is that concerning musical, dramatic, and artistic works produced before the commencement of the Imperial Act. Previously, although such works, when made in the United Kingdom, were protected so far as Great Britain was concerned under the Imperial legislation, they were not protected in any of the Dominions. The new legislation will protect such works. Honorable senators will agree’ that if the works of authors deserve protection, so do the works of artists. To secure the protection in Australia of the works of British artists, we must supplement the Imperial legislation. I have, to the best of my ability, endeavoured to put the main principles of this measure before the Senate. I hope that when we meet again next week, honorable senators will have given to this Bill the consideration which it deserves, and will be prepared to discuss it, and, if possible, to amend it for the benefit of authors, artists, and the people generally of this country.
Debate (on motion by Senator St.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– During the debate on the Address-in-Reply, I referred to Senator Millen’s strictures on some of the appointments made by the Government. The honorable senator particularly referred in this connexion to Mr. Clarke, the Director of Agriculture in the Northern Territory. I stated that I had travelled through some of the best lands in the Northern Territory with Mr. Clarke, and formed the opinion that he was a good man . for the position he holds, and that it was unfair for Senator Millen to make such statements as he did about a man he did not know, perhaps had never seen, and whom he had never taken the trouble to inquire about. Honorable senators will remember that some time ago a Scottish Commission of some of the best agriculturists of the Old Country were out here touring Australia. They, on their return to the Mother Country, issued a report of their experiences, in which they expressed a very different opinion of the capabilities of Mr. Clarke from that expressed by Senator Millen. Senator Millen has placed on record his opinion that Mr. Clarke is an inexperienced man, and I desire now to place on record the opinion of these well-known agricultural authorities. In the report which they have published, they say -
An attempt to acknowledge the kindness and helpfulness of the Australian people has been abandoned from the sheer impossibility of mentioning a tithe of those to whom the visitors owe happy experiences. Australia more than sustained her far-spread reputation for hospitality. An exception must be made in the case of Mr. W. H. Clarke, whose services throughout the whole tour were rendered available by instruction of the Minister of External
Affairs. Mr. Clarke’s remarkable knowledge of agrarian conditions was much drawn upon. His exertions for the success of the Commission were beyond all praise.
These men commend Mr. Clarke as a man of wonderful experience, knowledge, and ability in dealing with land matters. I place their view on record to emphasize the unfairness of Senator Millen’s criticism of a man of whose experience he knew nothing, and did not take the trouble to inquire about.
– As Senator McDougall is so anxious for the truth, I may inform him that I know Mr. Clarke, and have known him for very many years. I met him constantly - not week by week, but month by month, quarter by quarter, and year after year. I have followed his public life for many years, I forget how many, and I knew well what Iwas speaking about.
– What about the honorable senator’s knowledge of agriculture?
– I am prepared to put it practically against that of Mr. Clarke.
SenatorRae. - Would the honorable senator mind saying how he came to meet Mr. Clarke so frequently ?
– In the Agricultural Department, in Sydney. So that Senator McDougall’s first statement that I did not know Mr. Clarke absolutely falls to the ground. He went on to say that I did not take the trouble to inquire as to his capacity. It was not necessary that I should inquire, seeing that I knew so much about Mr. Clarke as I did.
– Senator McDougall said the honorable senator knew nothing about Mr. Clarke’s ability.
– I had every opportunity to acquire that knowledge.
– I was giving the honorable senator the benefit of the doubt. I did not think he would come here, and say what was not correct.
– I know Mr. Clarke’s history from the time he entered the Public Service of New South Wales.
– And a very good and creditable one it is too.
– It is, and I said so. My objection to Mr, Clarke’s appointment was not that he is not a good officer. ‘ What I said I repeat now, and I challenge Ministers and Mr. Clarke to deny it. I said that he has not had a scientific or practical training.
– I say that he has.
– Has he Labour sympathies ?
– I repeat that he has had no scientific or practical training. He has never worked upon an experimental farm, or a farm connected with an agricultural college. Since I have known him, which moist be for the last fifteen or sixteen years, he has never done anything but purely office work. As regards a scientific training, if he has had it, what diplomas does he possess? Where did he acquire this knowledge? It is not to his discredit that he has not had a scientific training. I did not say that it was to his discredit that he has not had a practical training. What I did say was - and I repeat the statement, because I see no reason to retract from the position I took up - that in sending a man to the great Northern Territory, with its unknown and unsuspected problems, it was desirable to send a man who had qualified in one of these two ways. From his practical acquaintance with agricultural or pastoral matters he could benefit those who settled in the Northern Territory, or, if not trained practically, he could take to his work a scientific equipment. Nothing that I said was to the discredit of Mr. Clarke. I simply wanted to say that he was an excellent officer for office work, who had acquired a theoretical knowledge of agriculture which had secured for him the position of editor of the Agricultural Gazette, in which he rarely wrote himself. His duties were not those of the editor of an ordinary newspaper. He discharged these duties excellently”. I do not know, in the Public Service of New South Wales, a man who was better qualified for office work than Mr. Clarke, but the Government put a round man into a square hole when they sent him to the Northern Territory. As regards what he did for the Scotch Commissioners, there is no word in the quotation to contradict what I stated here.
– They refer to his remarkable agrarian knowledge.
– What did they mean by that remark? Mr. Clarke may have a wide theoretical knowledge which would, and did, enable him to render great assistance to the Commissioners in telling them what particular conditions they would find in given districts, and in other ways helping them in the purposes of their inquiry. But that does not in any way conflict with my statement that he had not for this larger field what would be called or recognised as a practical or scientific training.
– I have not the intimate acquaintance with Mr. Clarke that Senator Millen claims to have had, but I wish to put a point of view before the Senate. I have known instances of men who were brought up in the Old Country as weavers, or in other factory occupations, and had absolutely no practical, theoretical, or scientific knowledge of agriculture, making shining successes in a new country where fanners from the Old Country, who had come out equipped with a lot of European or British knowledge, made rank failures, because they did not know anything about local conditions.
– Would you have an untrained man to teach others?
– I am not saying so. If Mr. Clarke possesses the kind of knowledge which is referred to, I admit, in somewhat general, but very warm terms by the Scotch Commissioners, he, while his knowledge may not be indicated by the possession of diplomas, evidently possesses a fund of information which will be exceedingly useful in the position which he has undertaken to fill. Whether he will be a success or not can only be proved by time.- It was purely a partisan act to condemn such an appointment because the man may never have been behind a plough. Would Senator Millen expect Mr. Clarke, in the position he is occupying, to show his practical acquaintance with the sheep-breeding industry by shearing sheep or classing wool ; or would he expect him to show his knowledge of agriculture by following the plough? The line of argument pursued by the honorable senator will not bear analysis, and his assertion was evidently made for party purposes. I think that what Senator McDougall has read goes to show that Mr. Clarke is held in the highest esteem by persons who are recognised as about the hardest-headed and shrewdest men in the world concerning agriculture, Scottish farmers, who are not wedded to the mere office man, but who would appreciate knowledge of a practical character, which Mr. Clarke evidently was able to afford them. To win such whole-hearted praise when no one else was referred to by them is very high testimony to the ability of Mr. Clarke.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 26 July 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1912/19120726_senate_4_64/>.