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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2572

Senator LAWRIE (QUEENSLAND) -Both Senator Lauckeand I raised the question of retrospective legislation in respect of clause 20 which, in effect, says that if the Government has seized any vessel or should seize any vessel between now and the date of royal assent it will be held to be seized under the provisions of this measure. This is wrong. It has never been accepted in British law though it is done often in United States law. It is wrong in principle. If an alleged offence is not an offence by law at the date on which it is committed, it cannot be made an offence at some subsequent date. That is a cardinal principle of our law. For this reason I oppose clause 20. 1 asked the Minister when we first spoke on the Bill to give us an explanation for the clause and I do not think he mentioned that aspect.

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