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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2568

Senator LITTLE (Victoria) - I wish to indicate that the Australian Democratic Labor Party will support the 2 Bills before the Senate. I do not wish to cover again the ground that has been covered by previous speakers. In order to clear the minds of honourable senators in regard to the Committee stage of the consideration of the Bills, I indicate that we, too, will support the amendments. In saying that, I point out that while the amended clause 11 appears to strengthen the Continental Shelf (Living National Resources) Bill by making mandatory the forfeiture of vessels in cases in which foreign ships come within the forbidden area to fish, there could be circumstances in which this could react both ways. A court feeling that forfeiture of the ship was excessive in the circumstances put before it might not register a conviction because it would feel that it would be an injustice to forfeit the vessel. Therefore, to leave the question within the jurisdiction of the court so that the court may be able to order forfeiture of a vessel seems to us to provide for all the circumstances that may eventuate.

There could be circumstances in which a fishing vessel might infringe very narrowly on the area from which it is prohibited. That should be an offence and most certainly the catch of the vessel should be appropriated. But to forfeit the vessel and all the equipment thereon without a court considering the circumstances involved seems to us to be not in accordance with the principles of natural justice. We believe that the jurisdiction should be left with the court. For that reason I indicate that at the Committee stage, without speaking to the amendments, we will support them.

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