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Friday, 16 July 1920

Mr BRENNAN (Batman) .- As, possibly, the question may now be put without involving so much personal danger to myself, I take the opportunity to ask the Acting Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) whether he is aware that the Military authorities have refused permission to myself, as counsel for the Rev. Father Jerger, to have an interview with him, or any communication with him whatever in regard to the preparation of a case which it is (proposed to bring before the Court by way of appeal. Up to the present that right has been denied me. It has been denied the person interested, and I am not aware that, in any Britishspeaking community - even under the War Precautions Act - has that Tight been previously denied. I have had much to complain qf in respect of the administration of the War Precautions Act. It has been an almost unmitigated curse to this community; but, at all events, we have had the right in the past to interview clients. It has been an acknowledged principle of administration, even of' that Act, as well as of the law wherever the English language is spoken, to (permit counsel to interview clients. The Government should take the responsibility of informing me whether they are prepared or decline to grant my request. Iput my question to the Minister the other day, and he declined to answer. Apparently, he thought that by a fatuous evasion of that kind he could put himself in a better position than if he were to flatly state that I would not be permitted to see my client. I now ask the Minister, does he, and do those who sit with him in Cabinet, support the view that Father Jerger is riot even to see his spiritual adviser? If the Minister professes to take that attitude, he should have the courage, at least, to- be definite about it. These questions are urgent, and should be answered now, and directly - either yes or no.

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