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Friday, 19 July 1912

Senator MCDOUGALL (New South Wales) . - There seems to be some misapprehension on the part of Senator Clemons regarding the constitution of Children's Courts, at least so far as New South Wales is concerned. These Courts are exactly like the ordinary Police Court, and in them I have seen youths of sixteen years of age who stood 6 feet high charged with i various offences. In New South Wales, if two lads are summoned for practically the same offence, if one is over sixteen years of age he is tried in the Police Court, whereas the other, if he is under that age, is tried in the Children's Court.

Senator Clemons - Is publicity given to the names of those who are brought before the Children's Court?

Senator MCDOUGALL - No. My desire is to avoid that publicity and to prevent the members of our Cadet Force from being dragged before the Police Court, which is practically a Criminal Court. A way out of the difficulty was suggested by Senator Cameron yesterday, namely, that a magistrate should attend at the Military Barracks to dispose of these cases. But I know that such a proposal would not be acceptable to the Committee.

Senator Clemons - Why not limit the operation of the amendment to the junior cadets ?

Senator McDOUGALL - If I had the power I would have the whole of the lads who are charged with having failed to attend the statutory number of drills brought before a Children's Court.

Senator Clemons - Our Defence Act distinguishes between junior and senior cadets.

Senator McDOUGALL - Only yesterday Senator Rae showed me an extract from the Sydney Evening News, which was headed " Cadets fined. Suicide the only escape."

Senator Pearce - That was a foolish statement which was made by one of the solicitors appearing for the defence.

Senator McDOUGALL - Exactly. But had there been a Children's Court before which these lads could have been tried, the solicitor would not have been there to make that silly statement, and the reporter would not have been present to publish it. My desire is to insure that no youth under sixteen years of age shall be haled before a Police Court where he will have to rub shoulders with criminals.

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