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Wednesday, 28 October 1914

Senator SENIOR (South Australia) . - I should like to ask of what use clause 17 is when, under clause 18, a Judge is given full power, in the case of a third offence, to treat the offender as a habitual criminal ? Does the Minister think for a moment that a Judge dealing with an offender appearing before a Court for the second time would not impose upon him a higher penalty than he would impose upon a first offender? Undoubtedly he would, and why should we make provision that he must double the sentence that was in his mind ? The clause means that, for the second offence, the Judge must impose a heavier penalty than he would otherwise impose, or it means nothing at all.

Senator Gardiner - It means that if the Judge imposes the maximum penalty it shall be a heavier penalty than for the first offence.

Senator O'Keefe - Will the honorable senator answer the objection that if the maximum penalty is given for the first offence it would, without this clause, be impossible to impose a more severe penalty for the second offence?

Senator SENIOR - The penalties provided are amply sufficient for any crime dealt with under the measure. The Government do not, I suppose, desire that a man should be decapitated the first time he sneezes, but the policy of the Bill seems to be that there shall be nothing left of an offender when a Judge has done with him. I refer honorable senators to clause 84, under which it is provided that a man may be imprisoned for two years if he takes any unlawful soundings, and under sub-section 4 of the clause it is provided -

Any figure or word or sign representing a figure (other than the printed figures appearing on any official or recognised map or chart) appearing on any map or sketch, of any portion of the const or territorial waters of Australia, or of a Territory, shall, in the absence of satisfactory proof to the contrary, be deemed to be a record of an unlawful sounding.

A fisherman living in a seaport may know that the soundings taken seven years ago are no longer correct. He may be a foreigner, and, having no more in his mind than a desire to secure the safety of his little craft, may mark an official map with figures. If he does that, there will be ground immediately for the institution of a prosecution against him for having made unlawful soundings, because he will be in possession of an official chart marked with figures that are not official figures. He would be liable to a penalty of two years' imprisonment under clause 84. That might be shown to be his second offence; he might previously have been convicted of drunkenness or some other trivial offence, and he would then for the offence of making unlawful soundings be liable under the clause now before the

Committee to imprisonment for four years. There is no real need for clause 17, and I am satisfied that the common sense of the Committee will reject it, especially in view of the fact that the penalties provided by the Bill are stringent enough without it.

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