Australia’s first saint will join the ranks of cricket legend Don Bradman, as the government moves to protect her name from being commercialised.
Mother Mary MacKillop will be the first Australian to become a saint when she is canonised in Vatican City on October 17.
Anyone wanted to use a company name that suggests a connection to Mother Mary will have to get ministerial approval to do so, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Monday.
Corporations regulations will be amended to protect the use of her name, reflecting the significance of Mother Mary’s canonisation for millions of Australians, Ms Gillard said.
Company names which suggested a connection to Australia’s first saint, Saint MacKillop or Our Mary, for example could be blocked, depending on the circumstances and the rest of the text of the name sought.
“This amendment will reduce the extent to which an entity may hold itself to be associated with Mary MacKillop,” Ms Gillard said.
The prime minister said the new measure would provide the highest level of protection currently provided for any individual Australian’s name.
Sir Donald Bradman is the only other individual Australian name with similar protection.
Existing laws will continue to offer a range of protections against the improper use of Mary MacKillop’s name, including the Trade Marks Act 1995, Trade Practices Act 1974, equivalent state laws, and the common law.
The new measure was further recognition of the significance Mother Mary’s life holds for not only the five million Australian Catholics but for all Australians, Ms Gillard said.