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Thursday, 9 March 1972
Page: 678

Senator WOOD (Queensland) - Mr Chairman,despite what has been said, the crime of people putting bombs in aircraft and possibly hijacking aircraft is a terrible business. Either action could cause a loss of life in an aircraft. Because of the magnitude of the crime and the terror involved for the people in the aircraft, including the air crew, I think (hat this is a matter which should be looked at. Such a crime may cause an enormous loss of life.

Senator Cavanagh - Is it worse than the use of napalm?

Senator WOOD -r- 1 know that argument. What amazes me is the sympathy (hal is shed for the people who commit these crimes. Those who are opposed to capital punishment are shedding tears about the people who cause these terrible losses of life, in the instance under discussion, by placing a bomb in an aircraft. Let me draw this illustration: We had the case yesterday of Trans- World Airlines and the case of another American airline. Such incidents could happen here. Let us suppose that an airline company was asked for some millions of dollars. Let us suppose further that the money was paid to the persons committing the offence and that, in the meantime, because they had no control over the situation and because the situation was out of control, the bomb blew up one of the airline's planes carrying a load of passengers. What would happen? Our courts are kind-hearted today. They are so soft and gentle to wrong-doers that we would find that those responsible would be sen- tencedto a number of years in prison which would be cut considerably by parole.

Senator Cavanagh - Take them to Mackay and hang them.

Senator WOOD - If they went there, they would really live a great life. Seriously, they would soon be out on parole. When they were released, it would be likely that the money that was paid to them would not have been recovered. Following their release, these people would be living in luxury because of the money that they had obtained in such a terrible way. This could happen. Let us consider the size of the aircraft in service today. As an example I mention the Boeing 747, the Jumbo jet. Let us assume that this happened on one of those jets carrying several hundred people. Those hundreds of people would be killed. Do honourable senators mean to tell me that it is a fair and reasonable thing for the individual who has committed such a mass crime to be able to enjoy in later life the ill-gotten gains that he received from some airline which had been frightened by him and had paid up? To me, in view of the terrible tragedy involved in such a crime, the idea is ridiculous.

Senator Keeffe - What would the honourable senator do if somebody pinched his bike? Would he hang that person?

Senator WOOD - If somebody pinched my bike, I would say that that person was on the road to good health because he would be a cyclist in the future. I return to the serious business of considering this amendment. As far as I am concerned, to worry about the life of one person as against the lives of several hundred people is completely out of proportion. I think that there is no question about it: There is only one way to deal with people who indulge in this sort of thing - to get rid of them.

Question put -

That the proposed new clause 5 be inserted.

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