SECTION 13.

(1) Neither any individual schedule, form, or other document filled in or otherwise completed by any person in pursuance of any requisition made under this Act nor any part of any such document shall without the consent of such person be published or, except for the purposes of a prosecution under this Act, be shown or communicated to any person other than an officer of statistics concerned therewith in the course of his duty as such officer.
(2) So far as is reasonably practicable, no report, abstract, summary, or other publication made under this Act shall contain the particulars of any information supplied in any manner whatsoever in pursuance of this Act by any person to any officer of statistics so arranged as to enable any person to identify such particulars as being particulars relating to any individual person, business, or concern without the consent in writing of that person or of the proprietor of that business or concern.
(3) No record or other document nor any part of any record or other document in the custody or charge of an officer of the civil service or of any other person and not open to public inspection which is inspected or of which a copy is obtained or taken by an officer of statistics under a power in that behalf conferred on him by this Act shall be published or shown or communicated by an officer of statistics to any person other than another officer of statistics concerned therewith in the course of his duty as such officer nor (so far as is reasonably practicable) shall any report, abstract, summary, or other publication made under this Act contain the particulars of any information obtained from any such record or document so arranged as to enable any person to identify such particulars as being particulars relating to any individual person, business, or concern without the consent in writing of that person or the proprietor of that business or concern.
Question—" That sub-section (1) of Section 13 stand part of the Bill "—put and agreed to.
Question—" That sub-section (2) stand part of the Bill "—put.

The words " So far as is reasonably practicable " were taken out in sub-section (2) on the last day. I ask to have those words reinserted. I explained some of the reasons the last day. In the first place there are some very big individual corporations or bodies in the country. I mentioned the last day quite a number of them. There is one railway company, a flax mill, one spinning mill, one oil refinery, one bottle factory, one textile and one dyeing factory. There is a match factory. As regards those, if any one of them were to object we could not get true statistics and we could not publish them. The London Customs Bill of Entry publishes daily the names of all important importers, the quantity of goods imported, the name of the ship, the port from which and to which it sails, etc. We give to any enquirer the quantity of any specific article imported by each importer. We do this on the principle that competition will bring us better or cheaper imports. We treat exports differently, and we would not give anyone the particulars of commodities exported by a particular exporter. As far as I can judge it is only in those cases where there is a possibility of identification that there could be objections. If it would interfere with the provision of really true statistics then I think the statistician ought to have the right to over-rule any objections. I think he ought to be the judge in the event of a conflict, which is unlikely.

If we go down further and take the counties and assume that the size of a farm is a matter that is required, we will find that there are not many cases of a farmer having a thousand acres. There are few even of five hundred, but if it would mean that the person might be identified it would scarcely be fair to say that the whole statistics should be upset owing to an objection from a person of that sort. I have been looking at exports and except perhaps in the case of one or two companies the possibility of identification is small. There are other cases where a tariff has been imposed and people know that there is only one particular firm at the work. In that case it is obvious that the public ought to know how the thing is going. The intention is not to expose individual companies' business but rather to give a true picture. I suppose motor cars would fall under the same head. Fords are the only people who export.

As it stands will the individual get any notice that there is going to be publication of the figures he has supplied?

One would require to read the two sub-sections. The first sub-section says:—

" Neither any individual schedule, form or other document, filled in or otherwise completed by any person in pursuance of any requisition made under this Act nor any part of any such document shall, without the consent of such person, be published or . . . be shown or communicated to any person other than an officer of statistics."

Sub-section (2) says that so far as is reasonably practicable, no report, abstract, or summary made under this Act shall contain particulars of any information supplied in any manner whatsoever in pursuance of this Act so as to enable any person to identify such particulars without the consent, in writing, of that person. While giving what you might call the maximum security, you are not giving absolute security. But we have gone as far to meet them as we can.

Will the Department be able to settle the matter without communicating at all with the individual?

Oh, no. The consent is referred to in the last lines. It reads:—". . . . without the consent in writing of that person or of the proprietor of that business or concern."

Then he will get notice that it is going to be published?

If he refuses consent he will get notice, and then he will have to be overruled.

He will have to be overruled, but, if it is possible, we will meet him so far as is reasonably practicable.

They cannot publish without first asking for his consent?

That is the point I am driving at. He must refuse his consent and then he will get notice that it is going to be published. If it is to be published without his consent he will have due notice and he will have a chance of putting his case.

Yes, he will have a chance of putting his case.

He must be asked to give his consent before publication.

You might say there is no security in it, but every possible safeguard that could be put in, without enabling them actually to say " stop," is put into it.

I admit that if you take it out the Government would be very apt to scrap the whole thing and to say it is no use.

Yes, it would be no use. As far as it is possible to make a bargain with a man we have taken precautions to insert something that will enable us to do it.

Seeing that he has a right to fight his case, I think he is getting protection as far as we can reasonably give it. I am willing to withdraw the amendment; that is, the amendment originally proposed. I was the proposer of it, and I propose to withdraw it now.

It is a nice point, but I do not think there is any serious reason why it could not now be moved to add these words again.

I suggest that they be re-inserted.

The procedure we adopted in this Committee—I will not say it was unusual—was that we definitely decided we would take the various amendments and then, having done that, we would take the sections one by one. We inserted certain amendments of which this was one. I am prepared now to take the proposal to re-insert these words: " So far as is reasonably practicable." If any Senator moves to insert these words I will accept the motion.

I propose that the words " So far as is reasonably practicable " be re-inserted in Section 13 (2), line 11. It would be better for me to do it as I proposed the amendment originally.

Yes, and it shows there is no ill-feeling.

Amendment put and agreed to.

There is no amendment to sub-section (3).

Question—" That Section 13, as amended, stand part of the Bill "—put and agreed to.