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Thursday, 9 March 1972
Page: 657

Senator YOUNG (South Australia) - Rarely in the last few weeks have I spoken but tonight I must express my concern about this matter of the personal attack by Senator James McClelland. This debate has gone on for quite some time. It has been a debate of conscience. We have seen honourable senators from this side of the chamber speaking in favour and speaking against the Bill. We have not heard many speakers from the Opposition. 1 do not intend to do other than pass comment. I am not passing any criticism. I say this qui e fairly to Senator Murphy because I wish to take my point further. The only reason 1 mention this is because of the fact that criticism of Government members in relation to this Bill has been expressed in the Press and in this chamber. I feel that if we are all honest we must admit that there has been a variance of opinion from this side of the chamber on the subject of capital punishment. More importantly one expected tonight to hear this matter again debated in depth and with sincerity and on a low, constructive key. I give full marks to Senator Murphy for the way in which he closed the second reading debate on this very important matter tonight. Personality did not come into it. Senator Murphy made a firm plea and spoke with conviction.

I regret very much that tonight we have seen Senator James McClelland bring personalities into the debate. I sat here and saw him being vicious and personally abusive to the Attorney-General. I admire firm, frank, hard debate, but I do not accept personalities being brought into debate in this place. Fortunately very few senators do. It would appear on the 'surface that Senator James McClelland has conducted a personal vendetta against the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) tonight. I only hope that we can come back to the honest, sincere, low level, constructive way in which the Leader of the Labor Party opened up this discussion tonight so that all of us can settle down to debate from a conscience point of view this very important humanitarian question in relation to which we all have differing views. Politics should be completely divorced from this issue which we are debating tonight, lt is up to each and every one of us to vote and speak as we see the issue. 1. hope that now we can go back to that level and act as honourable senators dealing wilh a very important matter and keep personalities, vendettas and viciousness completely out of the debate.

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