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Thursday, 7 November 1935


Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - If the amendment be agreed to a publisher or a newspaper proprietor found guilty under this provision will be imprisoned for two years. The suggested amendment has to be read in conjunction with proposed new subsection Ia, which provides that -

Any person who publishes any book, periodical, pamphlet, handbill, poster or newspaper containing any matter of such a nature as to, or as to be likely to - [a) seduce any person serving in the King's forces from his duty . . .

Wc are not likely to agree to such a penalty being imposed while the words " or as to be likely to " remain in the bill. I presume that a publisher has to make up his mind whether words used are " likely to " seduce any person serving in the King's forces. That is a very difficult matter to determine. "Who is to decide whether words used are likely to seduce any person?


Senator Brennan - A jury will decide that.


Senator COLLINGS - As I have already said in connexion, with other clauses, these provisions will operate only in times of public excitement, and on such occasions judges or juries cannot be expected to give unbiased verdicts. We do not believe that any one serving in His Majesty's Forces should be seduced from his duty, but to place on the publisher of any book, periodical, pamphlet, handbill, poster or newspaper the onus of showing that certain words are or are not "likely" to seduce any person, would he to go too far. In the event of a big industrial upheaval the militia may be called out.


Senator Sir George Pearce - That cannot be done under the Defence Act.


Senator COLLINGS - We know that at periods of excitement it is an easy matter to pass amending legislation to make that possible. Will the Assistant Minister explain this provision?







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