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Thursday, 13 October 1955

Dr EVATT (Barton) (Leader of the Opposition) . - The hour is late, but I want to put before the committee an amendment which has certain legal aspects in relation to the on us-of -proof clause. I think that the meaning and intent of section 47 have been cleared up during the debate. The statement of the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Spicer) which has been distributed and which deals with the onus of proof and the degree or standard of proof, is in accordance with the views that have been put from this side of the chamber by many honorable members, including myself, over a period of years; that is to say, the view is the view for which we contended last year and the year before. But the problem is to make sure that those rules are obeyed. The essence of section 47 is contained, I think, in the last few lines of the statement of the AttorneyGeneral, which deals with all claims -

A claim is not to be dismissed because the tribunal is left in a state of doubt as to any question whatsoever which arises for its decision. The claimant is always to bc given the benefit of any such doubt. As the onus of proof in all cases whatsoever lies on the person or authority who contends that the claim should not be granted and the claimant is to be given the benefit of any doubt, it follows . . .

And these are the words of the AttorneyGeneral, and this represents, I presume, not only a view of the law but also Government policy. Section 47 says it and the Attorney-General says it -

.   .that the claim should be allowed unless that person or authority proves beyond doubt . . .

That is, the one who is opposing the claim - . . that the claim is inadmissible. Only if the evidence is such that the determining authority is left in no such doubt that the claim should be refused can it properly dismiss the claim.

Mr Wight - The determining authority !

Dr EVATT - Must I read it again? Everybody else understands it.

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