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Thursday, 17 November 1960


Mr WARD (East Sydney) .I am not so sure that the situation is as satisfactory as it might appear. I listened very closely to what the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) said, and in my opinion it did not meet the objection raised by the Opposition. We were concerned originally regarding the first proposal which stated, " assist by any means whatever an enemy at war with the Commonwealth, whether or not the existence of a state of war has been declared." If that provision had remained and we had been asked to vote on it, we would have voted against it because we considered it not to be sufficiently precise and that it would be difficult for a person to know exactly when he was offending or otherwise.

The Attorney-General's interpretation appeared to meet the situation indicated by the Opposition, but when we consider his comments we begin to ask ourselves whether the proposed amendment does in fact meet the situation from the opposition's viewpoint. The Attorney-General has said that it may appear that paragraphs (i) and (ii) are somewhat in conflict. He then read the paragraphs out and said that they were not really in conflict, because the first one dealt with international situation only, and was unchanged. That is to say, it is as it was originally in the bill. If the words " at war with tie Commonwealth, whether or not a state of war has been declared " remain unchanged, it means that the provision is still in an imprecise form. If I understood the Attorney-General correctly, paragraph (ii), which we thought met the situation and which stated, " specified by proclamation made for the purpose of this paragraph to be an enemy at war with the Commonwealth ", does not apply in regard to the international situation but deals only with the internal situation. The AttorneyGeneral may laugh, but I think that if we refer to " Hansard " it will be proved that what I am saying is perfectly correct. Therefore, we have not advanced very far at all.

It the paragraph applies only to the internal situation, I should like the AttorneyGeneral to explain how you would declare an enemy internally. Is the provision to apply to a group of people? Do you declare a trade union to be an enemy, and are political organizations to be declared enemies? Having regard to the manner in which the provision has been presented to us, it does not appear to me, as a layman, that its intention has been expressed sufficiently clearly to know what is meant by it. I should like the Attorney-General to let us know whether the interpretation I have placed upon his remarks is the correct one.







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