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Wednesday, 14 July 1920

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon J M Chanter (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Order! I do not know that there is anything in the Standing Orders to prevent the honorable member dealing with a matter that is sub justice, but it is a well-established practice in this Parliament, and also in the Parliament of New South Wales, that in respect to any matter before the Courts honorable members observe silence until the Courts have dealt with it. It is a matter of good taste on the part of honorable members, but I point out that even though we have no rule forbidding it, it is parliamentary usage not to refer to any matter that is sub judice.

Mr Mahony - When the Prime Minister was asked a question on the subject this afternoon, he said that in the debate to follow we could talk about it as much as we liked.

Mr Tudor - The Prime Minister's words were that we should have a full opportunity on the debate that was coming on.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - But the Prime Minister is not Mr. Speaker.

Mr MATHEWS - While I have every respect for the Chair, I do not feel that I can follow the suggestion which has been made. You, sir, have said that any. reference to the subject is a matter of good taste, but I see no good taste in deporting a man who is innocent, and I feel that I should be remiss in my duty if I did not protest against the deportation of any man under these circumstances, no matter who he may be, and whether he happens to be a Catholic clergyman of German origin or not. There is no more reason for putting into force the provisions of a Safety of the Realm Act or the War Precautions Act now than existed 'before the war. It would appear that, boiled down, the reason for this deportation is that Father Jerger belongs to a certain religious persuasion, or that he is a man of German birth. I want to know if that is so. Again I say that it will be a crying disgrace to us if we deport this man without giving him resort to the Courts of the country, not in camera, but under such conditions that the press and every one will know what he is being sent away for. I say that the Government and those behind them will regret having assisted to deport a man who, according to the principles of British justice, must be regarded as innocent until he is proved to be guilty.

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