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Wednesday, 11 May 1921

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap - I may point out to the honorable senator that by negativing Senator Poster's proposed amendment the Committee decided that paragraph b of clause 44 should stand. Consequently, the honorable senator may not move his amendment.

Senator Benny - I think Senator Pratten could secure what he desires by adding to paragraph b a proviso that no sentence of death except for wilful murder shall be carried, into effect until confirmed by the Governor-General.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I thank my honorable friend for the suggestion, and I move -

That after paragraph (b) the following' words be inserted : - " Provided that for no offence excepting murder shall the death sentence be carried into effect until confirmed by the GovernorGeneral."

Senator Earle - Surely desertion in the face of the enemy is as bad as wilful murder ?

Senator Cox - Very much worse, because it may endanger the lives of hundreds of thousands of the soldiers.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I submit my amendment because I am not prepared to indorse the proposal to impose the death sentence upon Australian soldiers for any offence except that of wilful murder without their having the right of appeal to the Governor-General.

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