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Thursday, 17 November 1960


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN -

Order! I name the honorable member for Lalor.


Mr Pollard - I apologize.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN

I accept the apology of the honorable member. I ask the committee to come to order and I am not speaking to one side only. The Chair is not assisted by interjections from either side. I want to maintain order and I ask honorable members to assist during this important debate.


Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the AttorneyGeneral to correct his lie.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN

I ask the honorable member to withdraw that remark.


Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I withdraw, and I ask the Attorney-General to correct his misstatement since he knows now that it was incorrect.


Sir Garfield Barwick - I will not withdraw. I can only say what I heard.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN -

Order! I have already explained the position. The matter to which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro has referred, and which was raised by the Attorney-General, occurred in debate. If the honorable member for Eden-Monaro believes that he has been misrepresented, he may rise when the Attorney-General has finished his speech and explain his position.


Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I wish to ask your guidance, Mr. Temporary Chairman. I said that the Attorney-General had been sheltering behind the Sovereign. The Attorney-General immediately said, "I invite the public to hear what the honorable member for Eden-Monaro has said ", and he accused me of saying something that I did not say. This is a libel that has gone over the air.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN

I have told the honorable member for Eden-Monaro that he may make a personal explanation at the conclusion of the Minister's speech.


Mr Turnbull - I rise to order. I heard what was said by the honorable member and by the Attorney-General.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN

Is the honorable member speaking to a point of order?


Mr Turnbull - I can tell the Chair exactly what the honorable member for Eden-Monaro said and exactly what the Attorney-General said. I ask for leave to make a statement.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - The honorable member has not risen to a point of order, and he must resume his seat.


Mr Curtin - I rise to order. Now that everything has calmed down I would like to ask the Attorney-General to withdraw his remarks, which were offensive to me.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN -

Order! The honorable member for KingsfordSmith will take his seat. His point of order is not upheld.


Mr Curtin - I want to complain about-


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN -

If the honorable member does not resume his seat I will take action.


Mr Curtin - What is this?


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN -

The honorable member will resume his seat.


Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - I was explaining why, at this point of time, this provision as to treason has been advanced, why it is necessary, and what it means. There is one further point to be noted and it is this: In sub-clause (2.) of the proposed clause there is a provision that people who receive or assist a person guilty of treason or who, knowing that a person intends to commit treason, do not give information with all reasonable despatch, commit an offence which is punishable by imprisonment for life. I have heard a good deal of chatter about this provision. In one place I heard it said that this provision makes it possible to compel a wife to give evidence against her husband. This could not be further from the truth; but it is the sort of thing that has been spread around about this provision. This provision is what is called, at common law, misprision of treason. It is an old settled provision. It is a provision of the law of the States, either by statute or common law, and there is no novelty in it. Let me have one final word. It has been suggested that this has been brought in to interfere with trade unionism in some way, I say emphatically that that is not true. However, in order to demonstrate the bona fides of the Government, I have suggested an amendment to provide that nothing in the treason provision or, for that matter, in the other two, makes it unlawful to take any action in good faith in relation to an industrial dispute or matter. I cannot possibly go further in stating to trade unionists that this law, not only is not directed at them, but has no terrors whatever for lawful trade union activities.


Mr Ward - Who is to determine " good faith "?


Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - The honorable member for East Sydney would never know what " good faith " meant.







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