Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 27 November 1935

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - I am intensely- intrigued with the ease with which Senator Dein salves his conscience by. saying that he is satisfied that the words, "or as; to.'be likely to " have the same effectas the word "attempts". The conversion of the honorable senator hastaken some time but apparently it has been fairly easy. Will the Assistant Minister (SenatorBrennam) define the: word " publisher " Having had some experience in newspaper work I know that a publisher of a newspaper is not expected to read what he publishes. A publisher of a- newspaper is merely an employee whose name appears in. the imprint as the publisher and he is the person who can- be tackled. In- the case mentioned by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) the wrong man was- tackled. To omit the word " knowingly " is to make an absoluteassault on the liberties of the press, because it means that some member of a newspaper staff will, have to read every word that appears in certain articles.

Senator Arkins - Should- not articlesbe' readbefore being published?

Senator COLLINGS - They are not allread. It appears to be the objectiveof the - Government to secure the conviction of some one rather than to avoid unjust convictions.. If the word "knowingly" is- omitted and the words " or as to be likely to " are inserted it will be easy to- obtain convictions.Any one who has the- slightest regard for liberty, must consider this measure an atrocity. Senator J: V. MacDonald said that he was surprised that the newspaperproprietors had not expressed their strongopposition ; tothe proposed amendments, but I- know that a number have said that this measure is an attack upon the liberty of the press- and the rights of the people.- The Leader of the Senateattempts to make it appear that casehardened members- of the Opposition, in this chamber are associated with persons who incite members -of the defence forces to mutiny-. The honorable senator almost makes- us- feel that weare criminals becausewe- believe in- freedom, ofspeech and the liberty of the- press. The members of the Opposition will useall the powers they possessto have the word " knowingly " ' re-inserted andthewords "or as to be likely to" omitted. Ministersand those supporting, them, should know that the members of the- Opposition are sincere, when they, say that- they have no sympathy whatever with those- who incite to mutiny, but we believe that the people should have the right to express themselves freely. During periods of excitement and even during an election campaign it may be said that the language of some candidates is likely to result in the overthrow of the Government.

Senator Dein - In what clause is that provided ?

Senator COLLINGS - It is not in this clause but it is in another portion of the bill. If all safeguards, and there are Only a few,- are removed, any candidate who has the courage to express his opinion may be subject to the provisions of this bill. I move -

That the words " or as to be likely to ", proposed new sub-section 1a, be left out.

The CHAIRMAN - The committee has already dealt with the part of the clause to which the amendment refers. I am, therefore, unable to accept it. The honorable senator may, however, move later for the recommital of the bill with a view to the insertion of the amendment which he has proposed.

Suggest corrections