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Friday, 15 December 1905

Mr BAMFORD (Herbert) - I hardly think that the clause goes far enough.

Mr Groom - Every man who makes a defamatory statement will be liable.

Mr BAMFORD - My point is that if a newspaper published a defamatory statement concerning a candidate, an injunction- could be obtained against it; but that the clause as it stands would not restrain another newspaper from copying that statement.

Mr. JOHNSON(Lang).- I trust that the clause will not be allowed to pass in its present form. I have special reason for taking up this attitude, since at the last general election statements of the most defamatory character were circulatedin regard to me, and circulated, too, by wellmeaning, but misguided, ladies in some cases, against whom one would be naturally loth to take legal proceedings, especially as the slanders had, in the first place, been manufactured by men who screened themselves behind the women in their dissemination. It was reported, for instance, that I was a most immoral, dissipated, and brutal individual, and that I had several children, whom I used to hang up in a wood-shed and flog almost to death. As a matter of fact, I have no young children.

Mr Groom - The honorable member carries in himself the refutation of such charges.

Mr JOHNSON - That may be so, so far as those who know me are concerned ; but the point is that such statements might have been made to many persons who were not personally acquainted with me. I think the clause is loosely worded, and does not sufficiently safeguard candidates from imputations of a scandalous character.

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