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Wednesday, 27 July 1921

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . - I am surprised at the utterances of the honorable senator. The Committee, this afternoon drew attention to what it regarded as unduly high penalties, and without giving more than five seconds' consideration to the matter, the Government met honorable senators by agreeing to reduce the penalties by one-half. - We accepted that as a fair, workable proposition.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - When this clause was under discussion I raised the question of imprisonment, and the honorable senator nodded his head as if to intimate that it would be taken into consideration.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Jove is said to have nodded, and I might have done so on this occasion, but I have no recollection of it. I repeat that the Government cut down the penalties by one-half to meet what they believed to be the view of the Committee, and I submit that that compromise having been arrived at it is unreasonable for one honorable senator to ask for a further reduction.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - If the honorable senator says that was the understanding arrived at I will withdraw my opposition to the provision as to imprisonment.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - In this case the amendment moved by Senator DrakeBrockman does something more than halve the penalty. It eliminates altogether the provision for a minimum penalty of £500, leaving it to the discretion of the Court (6 impose any fine it pleases, and it cuts down by one-half the maximum penalty for which provision was originally made. . We have, therefore, met both the letter and the spirit of the objection raised by the Committee.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - If the understanding arrived at was that just stated by the honorable senator I withdraw my opposition, although I was under the impression that the question of imprisonment, as well as the monetary penalty provided for in the clause, would be reconsidered on recommittal.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with a further amendment; reports adopted.

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