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Wednesday, 27 July 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . -I am not an advocate of the imposition of severe penalties; but I desire to stress the seriousness of the offence for which the penalty of £500 is provided in this clause. I can scarcely conceive of a graver offence than the destruction by an accused person of incriminating documents which are in his possession for the purpose of defeating the ends of justice. The clause appears to me to be a thoroughly sound one; A man who defies the Board by refusing to produce any documents, books, or writings in his custody should be liable to a fairly severe punishment.

SenatorCrawford. - Is £500 the maximum penalty ?

Senator RUSSELL - Yes; but for a technical offence an accused person may be fined only half-a-crown.

Senator Vardon - I do not object to the clause if the penalty provided for in it is the maximum penaltywhich may be inflicted.

Senator RUSSELL - Under our Acts Interpretation Act the penalties set out in any of our Statutes are maximum penalties.

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