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Thursday, 21 July 1921

Military Offences and Civil Law.

Senator PEARCE(Western Australia -

Minister for Defence) [3.2]. - I ask permission to read an opinion in connexion with the question raised by Senator Elliott when, the Defence Bill was recently under consideration in this Chamber. [Leave granted.]. When the Bill was under consideration here. Senator Elliott raised a question as to the effect of one of the clauses, and desired that I should obtain the opinion of the AttorneyGeneral upon it. , I referred the matter to the Attorney-General's Department, and as I think it will be of interest to honorable senators, I now read the opinion 'supplied by the Solicitor-, General: -

The Acting Secretary to the representatives of the Government in the Senate has forwarded for advice the following memorandum : -

During the debate in Committee of the Senate, in connexion with clause 35 of . the Defence ' Bill1921, a question was raised by Senator Elliott as to whether this clause,if given effect to, would override the ordinary criminal law.

Clause 35 of the Defence Bill is as follows : -

35.   After section 84 of the principal Act the following, sections are inserted : - 84a. Any person who, with intent to hinder or prevent military operations, damages any railway tunnel, bridge, viaduct, culvert, road, or path shall be guilty of an - offence.

Penalty : £500 or imprisonment for three years.

84B....... -

The following is the relevant extract from Hansard, vide page 8238: -

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