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Wednesday, 28 October 1914

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) (Vice-President of the' Executive Council) .- If Senator Gould will do me the justice of scanning the division list, he will see that, whilst I was in Opposition, I voted more frequently with his party than he has voted with my party.

If the penalties provided in this Bill are harsh, honorable senators are quite at liberty to strike them out, or, indeed, to knock out the Bill altogether. But the measure has been introduced because it is of an urgent character, and it was only out of consideration to honorable senators opposite that we did not pass it through all its stages last Friday. Let me instance clause 82 of the Bill, which provides that any person who harbors any individual whom he knows, or has reasonable ground for supposing, to be a spy shall be liable to imprisonment for one year.

Senator Bakhap - That is not sufficient.

Senator GARDINER - I know that.

Senator Watson - Does the clause relate only to the harboring of spies?

Senator GARDINER - If this clause be eliminated, something will have to take its place. I wish to draw attention to the fact that our desire is to impose a heavier penalty for a second offence than for a first offence.

Senator Bakhap - Can an offender be convicted under State law of any offence of the nature of spying?

Senator GARDINER - He can. As regards previous convictions under State law, I intimated that I was willing to meet Senator Keating by consenting to have that portion of the clause struck out. There are a number of provisions in this Bill in regard to which honorable senators say that the penalties' are too light. The measure provides, not that a person convicted of an offence a second time shall be subjected to a double penalty, but that he may be. I desire honorable senators to understand their responsibilities to the Government at the present juncture. The Bill should have been passed through all its stages last Friday. The other branch of the Legislature realized its need - recognised that it was of so' urgent a character that, notwithstanding that there are a number of lawyers there, it was allowed to pass without amendment. Seeing that it is a measure which has been rendered necessary by the present war, I do ask for the consideration of honorable senators.

Senator Bakhap - And you will get it, too.

Senator GARDINER - Believing that, I will resume my seat.

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