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Wednesday, 27 November 1935

Senator BRENNAN (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - Section 30ab of the principal act is being repealed, and this proposed new section is to be inserted in its stead. So this provision is not entirely new. The context in which it will appear is important. Section 30ab is included in part LT a. of the principal act by the amending act of 1932. The heading to part II. is " The protection of the Constitution and of public and other services." At first unlawful associations are defined, and the procedure by which the Attorney-General may apply to have a certain organization declared to be an unlawful association is then set out. Section 30ab, which this section replaces, then provides certain methods of proof dealing with offences directed towards the overthrow of the Commonwealth. The proposed section does not differ greatly from the section which has been in existence since 1932, and which is being amended. Although that section has been operative for three years, none of the terrible things which the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) says will happen has occurred.

Senator Collings - Because certain prosecutions failed.

Senator BRENNAN - This proposed new section may be slightly stronger as to the method of proof; but, although the existing section has been on the statute-book for over three years, there have not been any prosecutions under it. In reply to the point raised by Senator Leckie, I may say that, generally speaking, the determination of what is or what is not a " just cause " rests with the magistrate.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - - And he would have a long list of decisions to guide him.

Senator BRENNAN - Certain wellknown principles are laid down, such as the confidence between a solicitor and a client, and between a doctor and a patient, information got under the seal of the confessional. A husband and wife are entirely protected. A father and child are not completely protected, although there may be circumstances under which prosecution would be withheld. A mother may give information against her son, but she may say frankly and freely, and admirably as most of us would say, that she will not incriminate him. I am not prepared to say at this juncture whether that would be a " just cause " within the meaning of the proposed new section. Those are some possible instances which may come before a magistrate for determination as to whether or not there was a "just cause." Under no circumstances can a perso* be compelled to answer in a court of law, or out of it, questions which may incriminate him.

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