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Thursday, 12 October 1911

Senator RAE (New South Wales) - - I hope that the Minister will not do what he has been advised to do by Senator Millen. It will be an advantage if the acceptance of the amendment will make the Bill inconsistent, because no one is likely to attempt .to enforce a measure if he is doubtful how the attempt will turn out. Another advantage will be that if the holder of a medal is permitted to give it, though not to sell it, the provisions of the Bill may be easily evaded by a private understanding.

Senator St Ledger - Senator Millen is asking the Minister to save himself from being ridiculous by recommitting the Bill if the amendment is accepted.

Senator RAE - In my opinion the Minister has made himself so ridiculous by introducing the Bill, that to agree to the amendment will not make matters any worse. But by giving people a chance of evading the measure we shall ease down the severity of it. Once it is provided that a person can give a medal away, there will be no reasonable possibility of ascertaining whether he has actually given it or sold it. As, however, I do not regard this as good legislation, I consider that anything that vitiates it is an advantage. This provision will entirely vitiate the Bill. The only way in which the object can be effected would be to make it absolutely illegal for any person to have in his possession medals which had not been conferred upon him, no matter whether he obtained them by purchase or by gift. But if a person is allowed to obtain medals by gift, it will be possible for him to obtain them under the pretence of gift. Consequently, the whole Bill will become a farce.

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