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Thursday, 15 August 1912


Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) - - Senator McGregor practically says to us, in regard to Senator Keating's amendment, "Regulations will prescribe what you desire, but for the Lord's sake do not put it in the Bill !" It is not a matter of conflict between the AttorneyGeneral and his advisers and the legal senators. The conflict is one of common sense. We are told that we should not make a hard-and-fast rule. How is it that the law of the land has made it a hardandfast rule that every person who is brought as a witness to give evidence in a Court shall have his expenses tendered to him? Otherwise. *you cannot touch him if he disobeys a subpoena. That is an inflexible rule. Every citizen in the land is entitled to be protected by it. A man can refuse to give, evidence on the ground that his expenses were not tendered to him. If I, as counsel in a case, called a witness, that witness could walk into Court and stop dead at the witness-box, where he could say, " I decline to go into the box, because my expenses have not been tendered to me." In such a case, the Judge would say, " Yes, I cannot compel the witness; the law says that he is to be paid expenses for coming, for staying here, and for going back home again." All that Senator Keating is asking for is that we should make it clear that the law as it now applies to witnesses before all our

Courts shall apply to witnesses summoned to attend a Royal Commission. There is in this amendment no deep-laid scheme designed to weaken the provisions of the Bill. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has said that the matter can be provided for by regulation, but why should we not put it beyond all doubt by the insertion of the simple words proposed by Senator Keating !







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