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Thursday, 17 November 1960

Mr ANDERSON (Hume) .-! listened with great interest to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam).

He seeks to delete paragraph (c) from clause 23. I should like to ask him one question. If he were Attorney-General, as he might be one day in the dim and distant future, and there were an armed insurrection in the country, what would he suggest should be done if this paragraph is deleted? You could have an armed insurrection - an attempted coup d'etat. It has happened in other countries. What would be the position if we had in this country a conspiracy such as that which a royal commission found had as its objective the overthrow of the capitalist state? Suppose a royal commission found that the aim of a conspiracy was to smash the existing state, to overthrow the existing government by force and violence? As I look through sub-section (1.) of proposed new section 24, I find that it contains six paragraphs, in only one of which is the Attorney-General given power to deal with an armed insurrection - a Communist or fascist coup. That power is given by paragraph (c). If that paragraph is deleted, we are left only with paragraph (a) which deals with the Sovereign, paragraph (b) which deals with the heir apparent, paragraph (d) which relates to assistance given to an enemy at war with the Commonwealth, paragraph (e) which relates to instigating a foreigner to make an armed invasion of the Commonwealth or any Territory and paragraph (f) which relates to intention to do an act calculated to instigate a foreigner to make an armed invasion. Without paragraph (c) the clause would contain no power to deal with levying war or a conspiracy in Australia. I do not see anything in the proposed amendment to replace the present paragraph (c) of the proposed new section. If a royal commission should decide that the Communist Party, which owes allegiance to a foreign power, is guilty of conspiracy, there is nothing in the bill, other than paragraph (c), which would give the Attorney-General power to deal with such a conspiracy, or an armed insurrection to overthrow the Commonwealth by force.

Mr Whitlam - May I have the committee's leave to answer briefly the question which the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) has put to me?

Mr Freeth - You are only keeping your own men out of the debate.

Mr Whitlam - The honorable member asked a question of me.

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