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Wednesday, 8 November 1911

Senator McCOLL (Victoria) .- The Minister is hardly justified in taking such strong exception to the efforts being made by the Opposition. I admit that he has tried to meet the desires of honorable senators fairly, and that the amendments before the Committee go a long way to remedy the defects of proposed new section61e. But the honorable senator should recollect that, as Senator Vardon has pointed' out, the principle of that proposed new section is almost a new thing in law. Being new, it will require to be safeguarded to make it operate fairly. In the back-blocks of this country it is often impossible to secure the services of a justice of the peace to witnessdeclarations. In order that that hardship may be mitigated, it is desired that the defendant, in a case under the compulsory enrolment provisions, shall be permitted to put in a signed statement duly attested as his defence or explanation. I admit that there are difficulties in the way, but, nevertheless, I would ask the Minister to give the matter further consideration. Perhaps, later on, he may be able to devise means by which the desires of honorable senators might be met.

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