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Thursday, 17 November 1960

Mr CLEAVER (Swan) .- How glad we are on this side of the committee that the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) will not be deterred by these persistent arguments by the Opposition. We have been listening to most illogical, emotional clap-trap from Opposition members.

Mr Ward - Take your hands out of your pockets and stand up like a man.

Mr CLEAVER - I do not need to be told by the honorable member for East Sydney how to stand or how to conduct myself. We are quite happy to refute the opinions of the honorable member for East Sydney, as we have done before. I wonder whether honorable members who are advocating this amendment really appreciate the purport of it. In my opinion - I am sure my colleagues will support me in this - Opposition members are asking for a complete embargo on criminals who happen to be under the age of 25 years. One must therefore pose the question: Is there no criminal under the age of 25 years in the history of Australia who has not warranted declaration as an habitual criminal? Is there no evidence of this habitual tendency occurring under the age of 25 years? We can look back and see, unfortunately, crime becoming the pattern of a young life at 20 or 21 years, or the years under 25. It is apparent that a court has had to act.

Here we have the strong recommendation of the Opposition, with much illogical emotion attached to it, that the AttorneyGeneral should impose a complete embargo and give a freedom that does not exist in certain States to those under 25 years with habitual criminal tendencies. It is on this simple test, therefore, that I suggest that the Attorney-General will not be deterred from his obvious conviction, that he will retain the provision already in the bill, and that he will discount the emotional, illogical recommendations attached to the Opposition's amendment.

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