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Wednesday, 21 July 1920

Mr GROOM - The inquiry is not sub judice itself, but the challenging of the Government's action in deporting this man is sub judice. The honorable member must remember that there was not only an application to be made which was under appeal, but, also, that a writ was issued challenging the Government's action, and asking for an injunction to restrain the Commonwealth authorities from deporting the party in question. And, according to the honorable member's case, presumably, the whole of the facts in connexion with the deportation are to be raised.

Mr RYAN - No; only one point was raised, and that was whether the Executive had power to take this action or not.

Mr Groom - On the application Which the honorable member made, he raised several points.

Mr RYAN - Does the Minister suggest that it was within the jurisdiction of the High Court to say whether or not the Federal Executive had .abused their powers ?

Mr Groom - You have issued a writ, which has raised the whole question of the circumstances of the deportation.

Mr RYAN - There is only one point raised, and that is whether the Commonwealth Executive has power to deport persons, or not. This matter regarding the inquiry held before Sir Robert Garran was not sub judice, and is not now sub judice. Responsibility rests upon honorable members to. say whether or not they will prevent a discussion on this matter; and it is an individual responsibility. Are honorable members going to stand for this, namely, that they will not allow the matter to be discussed upon the floor of the House, seeing that a notice of appeal has 'been given regarding the power of the Executive to deport people from this country? If they -are going to do so, discussion can be held up in this Chamber, not only pending the final decision of the High Court, but until a decision has been sought from and given by the ultimate tribunal of appeal of the British Empire; that is, the Privy Council.' It would be absolutely ridiculous, but that would be the effect of Mr. Speaker's ruling, and of honorable members supporting it.

Now, I desire to give an illustration of a matter which may be referred to in debate in this Chamber, which is not the issue in a trial. I am referring to volume 335 of British Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, third series (page 1251). The member of the House of Commons whom I shall quote is. Mr. Atherley-Jones, whose knowledge of the Standing Orders of the Imperial Parliament no honorable member will doubt. He was speaking in reference to the prosecution of a Mr. Conybeare and a Mr. Harrison, and was called to order for referring to matters that were in issue at the trial. He desisted, but went on to make other statements, which I shall read in order to illustrate what was held to be in order as not being part of the subject-matter of the trial -

Now, what I want to ask the House is what offence Mr. Harrison committed in handing in these loaves of bread, and, secondly, what is of more importance, assuming that he had committed an offence, which might be the subject of some civil remedy, what justified the police in arresting him ? In amplification of this question, I wish to ask the right honorable gentleman what are the functions of the Royal Irish Constabulary in respect of evictions? I have followed with great care and interest the information we have at various times received in regard to the conduct of the Irish Constabulary at evictions, but, as an English lawyer, and speaking, as I know I do, the confirmed opinion of every member of my own profession, I say without hesitation that the duties of the police at evictions are confined within these limits.

And so on. Those' statements were not held to be out of order. Later on, as reported at page 1258, Mr. AtherleyJones, dealing with the conduct of the police with regard to Mir. Conybeare, said -

It is reported that Mr. Conybeare, during his visit to Falcarragh, was subjected to an odious system of police espionage. Members of the constabulary followed my honorable friend about with note-books in their hands and wrote clown every word he uttered in private conversation.

Although these gentlemen were under a charge that had yet to be dealt with, Mr. Atherley-Jones discussed in this way the manner in which the police had dealt with them. That being so, surely I should have been allowed to refer to the manner in which the Commonwealth Executive dealt with this internee. Here was an actual trial, and the matter was discussed in the House of Commons by Mr. Atherley-Jones, whose knowledge in such matters no one will doubt. He referred in the way I have set out to the conduct of the police connected with the case. Could I not, then, refer similarly, even if the matter were sub judice - which it is not - to the manner in which the Commonwealth Executive had abused their powers 1 Was it not open for me to refer to the way in which they had hounded down this internee and persecuted him at every turn? Are we not to be allowed to discuss these things? Are Ministers to be able to go out without telling the public what has been done-

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - I rise to order. Is the honorable member in order in charging the Executive Government of the day with persecuting and otherwise abusing this so-called internee while the case is still before the Court?

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