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Friday, 23 October 1914

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - I ask Senator Keating not to press his suggested amendment unless he has some real and urgent reason, not as yet apparent to most of us. If we make an amendment it will mean that the Bill will have to be returned toanother place, which is not at present sitting ; and I might point out that the legislation is very much required by the Defence Department. Clause 2, which wehave already adopted, clearly states that the Bill commences on 4th August, whenthe declaration of war was made, and will cease when a proclamation is issued by the Governor-General that the war hasended. This Bill does not create any new offences; any offences committed under this Bill since the declaration of the warare already offences under the common law. As a matter of fact, the Bill is merely to make matters clear and definite in statutory form.

Senator Keating - Sub-clause 1 of clause 3, so far from making the meaning any clearer, makes it more ambiguous.

Senator RUSSELL - The Bill does not make any individual or firm liable for any act which is not already an offenceunder common law, and it would, I think, be remarkable if we could not accept the drafting by the Defence Department,, whose only desire is to make the position clear.

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