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Wednesday, 28 October 1914

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - I have to thank honorable senators opposite for their treatment of this measure. I merely wish to assure Senator Keating that Mr. Glynn, who was responsible for certain suggestions in another place, has since satisfied himself that the amendments which he thought were necessary are quite unnecessary. In regard to clause 17, Senator Senior will find that it deals with double penalties only where terms of imprisonment are provided. I am quite in sympathy with Senator Gould that we should reduce any penalties which may be regarded as too drastic. But we have to recollect that the Bill provides for maximum penalties, and that the nature of the punishment inflicted will rest entirely with the presiding Judge or magistrates. I am pleased to say that at the beginning of this enlightened twentieth century the legal gentlemen who usually fill these exalted positions do not exhibit that harshness which characterized many of their predecessors in years gone by. I believe that the Bill will be administered in a much more humane fashion than were some of the measures of a similar character in the various States.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee:

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 (Definitions).

Amendment (by Senator Gardiner) agreed to -

That to the definition of " Commonwealth Officer " the following words be added : - " and includes an officer of the Commonwealth Bank."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 4 to 16 agreed to.

Clause 17 -

1.   Where a person convicted of an indictable offence against the law of the Commonwealth has been previously convicted of any offence against the law of the Commonwealth or of a State or of a Territory, and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of hard labour for one year or longer, the maximum term of imprisonment in respect of the offence of which he is convicted shall be double that provided by the section creating the offence.

Senator SENIOR(South Australia) opportunity afforded for discrimination under this clause. It is so very sweeping in its present form that the Committee should pause before agreeing to it. A person may have committed an offence under a State law, and, by this clause, if he commits an offence for the first time under the law of the Commonwealth, he becomes liable to double the penalty provided for the offence. That is not in keeping with the practice under the Stale laws. A man found guilty of a second offence under a State law is not necessarily liable to double the maximum penalty provided for his offence. He may have committed an offence the maximum penalty for which is a fine of £5, but it does not follow necessarily that, if he commits a second offence, he is liable to a fine of £10. Under this clause, however, if a man has been convicted of an offence under a State law, and then is convicted of an offence under the Commonwealth law, the penalty for that offence is necessarily increased to double what it would have been for a first offence.

Senator Guy - That is the maximum.

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