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Wednesday, 28 October 1914

Senator TURLEY (Queensland) . - I can quite understand that the VicePresident of the Executive Council desires that the Bill should be passed forthwith, because there is considerable urgency as regards certain parts of the measure. But the Minister cannot contend that there is any urgency regarding this clause 17, which is the bone of contention and not the Bill as a whole. Honorable senators are prepared to assist the Government in getting the Bill through promptly, but many of them desire that it should pass without this clause. It cannot be said that this provision is urgent, since it would apply only to persons brought before the Court on a second offence. If the Bill is permitted to pass withoutthis clause the Government will have ample opportunity later to introduce an amending measure providing the power asked for here should it in practice be found necessary in connexion with this legislation. The Vice-President of the Executive Council stated that if this clause were not passed the Bill would need to be entirely recast. That is not so. It has been pointed out that there are only two or three clauses in connexion with which a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve months is provided as the maximum penalty for certain offences, and it has been shown that it is competent for the Committee, should honorable senators so desire, to increase the maximum term of imprisonment for such offences. The Ministry should be satisfied with getting the Bill through without this clause, in view of the fact that, should it afterwards be found necessary to enact such a provision, ample opportunity will be afforded to do so.

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