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Wednesday, 11 May 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - If honorable senators will consider the proposed section they will see that it deals with an attempt to interfere with a railway, tunnel, bridge, or road in order to hinder or prevent military operations. That is different from the civil offence of interfering with a railway to bring about a collision or to capsize a train, by which a number of persons might be killed. If a person' offending against the proposed section brought about loss of life he could be arrested under the civil law and tried for murder or manslaughter. If legal members. of the Committee consider that the penalty provided for is not sufficiently severe, I have no objection to increase it, but it seems to me that the proposed section does not take away the right under the civil law to deal with any person who by damaging a railway line brings about loss of life or damage to property. It might be convenient for the Committee if the Chairman would put the proposed new sections separately according to the marginal notes.

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