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Thursday, 22 July 1920

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - I have listened very attentively and closely to what the Prime Minister has been saying. I am quite prepared to deal with him as I would with any other honorable member.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Indeed, you are not.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - I call upon the honorable member for Hume to withdraw that expression, and apologize to the House.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Having said it, I withdraw it.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member must also apologize to the House.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes, I am ready to do anything you like.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - I did not hear one sentence in which the Prime Minister referred to any particular deportee. It is the duty of the Chair to .take action when action is necessary, and had the Prime Minister attempted to deal with, or indicate any particular case, I would have called him to order. In the terms of the motion I cannot call any honorable member to order for dealing generally with deportations; but if any attempt is made to deal with a case which is now sub judice, and before the Courts, I shall exercise the authority of the Chair.

Mr HUGHES - The- honorable member has asked why the War Precautions Act has been used for the purpose of deporting persons, whom, under its provisions, it has been found necessary in the interests of the Commonwealth to deport, and I was saying that it was one of the chief purposes for which" the Act was brought into force. I was also saying that the principal reason why deportations had not been gone on with at an earlier stage, was 'first, that it was impossible to deport these persons during the war, and secondly, because representations were made to which the Government listened, and those representations were in favour of delay. Owing to the wording of the motion, and the decision of the Chair, it is impossible to deal with the merits of particular deportations, and, therefore, I shall not attempt to do so. I am content to say, in regard to deportations generally, that the only charges that can be laid at the door of the Government are that it has not deported men who ought to have been deported; that it has extended undue consideration to certain persons, and has allowed the law to slumber when it should have been active. Those are the only charges that can be made against the Government. So far as the War Precautions Act is concerned, I said, when I introduced it years ago, that every man should have the opportunity of being heard, and every man has been given an ample opportunity of being heard. It is now said that every man should have a trial before a jury . Every one knows that, in the very nature of the case, it would be impossible to get a conviction against such persons before a jury. Every witness who came forward would be a marked man. We know what is occurring in other countries, where the man who dares to come forward and give evidence is shot.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member has reached his time limit.

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