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Thursday, 28 March 1957

Mr EDMONDS (Herbert) .- The bill is a simple one, and its title explains its purpose exactly. However, this debate affords me an opportunity to ventilate in this House a matter that has caused very grave concern not only to me but also to a man and his wife residing in Townsville. I put it to the House and to the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) sincerely that this matter should be investigated much more closely than has been the case up to the present time. I have the complete authority of the couple concerned to raise the matter in this House. It concerns a man named James Bowden, who is an ex-serviceman with, I understand, six and a half years' service in the Royal Australian Air Force, and his wife, who is a nursing sister at the Townsville General Hospital. The facts are that Mr. Bowden chartered a vessel from a man named Comino in Brisbane, and put the whole-

Mr Hasluck - I rise to order. The point of order I raise concerns the admissibility of a debate on this particular subject under a bill which deals with the removal of prisoners from the Territories to prisons on the mainland. I do not wish to stifle discussion, but the forms of the House afford the honorable member ample opportunity for raising a matter such as this on the motion for the adjournment or on some other suitable occasion. I think it needs to be determined whether this bill, which deals very narrowly with the procedures under which prisoners already sentenced may be removed from a Territory to a prison on the mainland, provides an opportunity for discussing a particular case which, from my own knowledge of it, concerns the administration of justice - that is the actual trial of a man in the Territory. I do not wish to stifle discussion, but I know there are opportunities under the forms of the House for this matter to be raised on another occasion.

Mr EDMONDS - Sir, Iwould suggest that you hear me a little further before you give a decision on the point of order raised by the Minister. I am sure that if you do so, you will come to the conclusion that this matter is relevant to the bill.

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