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Wednesday, 20 May 1942

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aircraft Production) - Will the Acting Attorney-General prepare a statement setting out why it is thought advisable that certain people who have been charged with treason, with a desire to aid the enemy, and with conspiring to murder certain people in this community, should not face their trial in an ordinary criminal court, instead of having their cases heard by an internees tribunal the membership of which is not generally known, and evidence "before which is not given in public?

Mr BEASLEY - The honorable member's question is not based on sound premises. The Minister for the Army did not make a sweeping statement involving every member of the Australia First Movement.

Mr McEwen - But the objective of the movement was what the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) has pointed out.

Mr BEASLEY - The Minister fox the Army said that he had certain evidence, and he indicated to the House the nature of the evidence. The facts in his possession applied only to certain persons, and not necessarily to every member of the Australia First Movement. Against those persons in respect of whom evidence was available charges have been laid.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - Is a person who, in the judgment of the Minister, is guilty of the crimes which have been mentioned to be tried by an aliens tribunal or an internees tribunal, or is the practice of requiring them to face their trial before an ordinary criminal court to remain in cold storage for the time being?

Mr BEASLEY - Those persons against whom there is evidence of treasonable acts are being dealt with in accordance with the ordinary processes of the law. Other suspected persons who have been interned will be dealt with by either an aliens tribunal or an internees tribunal. The Government is following the strict course of the law, and persons found guilty will be punished.

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