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Thursday, 14 September 1972
Page: 869

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Evidently we are not to be given any chapter and verse to support what I can only repeat is the lurid picture of the consequences that flow from failure to validate what has been done under the supposed law of the Australian

Capital Territory. The Attorney-General must know perfectly well that nothing in the attitude of the Opposition has anything to do with any desire to prevent the workers compensation regulations from functioning in this Territory. Nothing in our attitude has anything to do with preventing the civil and criminal law of the Australian Capital Territory from functioning. We are concerned only with one central point, and I do not know how many times we have to say it in order to get this through to the Government. We are concerned to defend the principle that criminality cannot be created retroactively, and my question is limited to that. I am not concerned wilh suggesting that we want to hold up the proper functioning of the workers compensation legislation. Surely it is not too much to ask the AttorneyGeneral, who has Informed his mind on these questions, what is the actual threat contained in the amendment that we propose.

Senator Byrne - Civil liability as against criminal liability.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes. The civil liability that I am attempting to prevent from operating is limited to the people who were arrested in connection with this Aboriginal embassy. We are not suggesting for one moment that the question of civil liability should remain in doubt in this Territory. We are not suggesting for one moment that the workers compensation laws should cease to function. What we are concerned to know, to have some chapter and verse on, is what will be the dire effects in this community if the principle that we espouse is accepted by the Government, that is, that criminality should not be created retrospectively Am 1 to take it from the Attorney-General's answer that he cannot give me any chapter and verse on this question?

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