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Thursday, 13 September 1973
Page: 996


Mr ENDERBY (Australian Captal Territory) (Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory) - The point of difference between the Government and the Deputy Leader of the Country Party (Mr Sinclair) and those few members of the Liberal Party who support that proposition and the members of the Australian Country Party who all support it is that we do not believe that anything is to be gained by increasing the amount of violence in the world. I just give honourable members the history of crime. Honourable members will remember that this country came into being because of the savage, barbaric penal laws of 18th century Britain where a person could be punished with 7 years transportation for stealing a loaf of bread. That did not stop people stealing bread. It was a time as was pointed out in the earlier stage of the debate, when capital punishment existed in a most barbaric form for a multiplicity of offences. It did not exist in just a simple form, if one can have a simple form of administering death. However, that did not stop crime and that is the whole evidence that has been put before the world since the world began. It does not stop crime.

But when you create violence and put the sanctity of the State behind it, you encourage violence, and violence feeds on violence. We are all appalled by the hi-jacking incidents which have occurred, but does anyone seriously believe that the hi-jackers are going to stop just because we increase the penalty? The Japanese and Arab gentlemen who did what they did a little while ago in, 1 think, Beirut, were fanatics. I can sympathise with but must reject the argument of the people who say: 'Look what they did. They were Kamikaze-type people. When we get the survivors we will off with their heads and destroy them'. I can understand that argument, but I reject it. I completely reject also the argument that to let it be known in advance that the death penalty will be imposed will stop the incidents. It will not stop them. In fact, there is a lot to be said for the argument that the death penalty is exactly what they want. They want to be made martyrs.

I just put to honourable members that that is the whole lesson of history. In other words, if honourable members reflect on it, they will find that if we want to have a less violent world we should progressively remove violence and should make our state and administration progressively less violent. Criminal law is the essence of violence - the less violent it becomes, the more healthy and sane the community will be.

Amendment negatived.







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