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Friday, 13 August 1920

Mr HUGHES (Bendigo) (Prime Minister and Attorney-General) . - Honorable members do not appreciate that a law without sanction is useless. There must be behind every law at least the shadow of force. Civilization itself rests upon it. Bolshevism rests upon it. The Bolshevists say, " Be free, or I will disembowel you. Guard the standard of liberty, or else I will cut your head off." These -are the anthems of Bolshevism, and, modified and watered down, they are the foundation of the pillars of the temple of civilization. We say, "Keep the law; love God; honour the King; be faithful to your wife - because if you don't something may happen." Now the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Mathews) says that unless this law is left without penalties it is going to be useless. I ask honorable members to look at the Ten Commandments, and to look at the Crimes Act. The Crimes Act is a living, breathing, testimony to the fact that mankind is not always amenable tq reason, and to the still small voice of right crying in the wilderness. Justice comes to us and says, " My friend, let us reason together," and, keeping one hand behind the back, continues, " and if you won't reason together" - and then the hand with the weapon is produced - " we must see what can be done." The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has referred to the workers in such a way that any one would think they would be in certain danger under this Bill. We have been discussing the measure for some time, and I think I have made almost every amendment that I have been asked to make.

Mr Mathews - That makes it more dangerous still.

Mr HUGHES - I suppose it does, but that was not for the honorable member to say, but for us. If I have erred, I have done so because I have endeavoured to treat this as a non-party measure, and have listened to the counsel of both sides of the House. Counsel from the opposite side has been more vociferous, or, shall I say, more articulate, than counsel on this side. Without penalties the measure is absolutelyworthless. There is the League of Nations. What value has the League of Nations unless there is behind it some force? Do honorable members realize that the greatest war in history took place under the shadow of The Hague Tribunal? In The Hague Tribunal, compassed about by 10,000 bayonets, the Angel of Peace was securely guarded. - so securely guarded, in fact, that she never got out for five years. I am prepared to strike out the words "or of the regulations," and leave the clause to provide that, if there is any contravention of the Bill for which no penalty is provided, it will be punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding £100, or both. I move - That the words " or of the regulations " be left out.

Mr Mathews - To be fair to all parties, remove the provision for a fine, and make the punishment imprisonment only.

Mr HUGHES - I have not the slightest objection; but go down to Melbourne Ports, and tell the electors you have voted for putting: them all in gaol, and see what they say.

Mr Mathews - I am willing to take the risk.

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