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Thursday, 17 November 1960

Mr BANDIDT (Wide Bay) .- I cannot see how the possession of a code book could be held to be an offence relating to property, and if my contention is correct, the example mentioned by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) would scarcely apply. The offence with which the accused would be charged would be one relating to treachery or some other serious crime, not of being in possession of a code book costing only about 4s. 3d.

I should like to mention one matter for the consideration of the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick). It is something entirely apart from the points raised so far. In his proposed amendment, the AttorneyGeneral refers specifically to sub-sections (2.) and (5.) of proposed new section 79 of the act which specify offences punishable only on indictment. I remind him that in sub-section (3.) of proposed new section 79 mention is made of an offence which is not declared to be an indictable offence. It is declared merely to be an offence. The sub-section reads -

If a person communicates a prescribed sketch, plan, photograph ... or permits a person to have access to it, he shall be guilty of an offence.

The penalty named for that offence is imprisonment for two years. Sub-section (6.) provides that if a person receives any sketch, plan, and so on, knowing, or having reasonable ground to believe, that it is communicated to him in contravention of subsection (3.) he shall be guilty of an offence unless he proves certain things. The penalty prescribed there is imprisonment for two years. As the proposed amendment stands those offences, not being indictable, so far as I can see could be tried summarily. I suggest, for the consideration of the Attorney-General, that any offence which attracts a penalty of two years' imprisonment should be made indictable.

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